The golden era of Philippine sports is a product of hard work and sacrifices of our athletes and coaches, coupled with funding. Lots of it.
This was the assessment of Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez in what he described as his ‘exit interview’ during a solo appearance in the first face-to-face Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum in over two years at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex administration building audio visual room in Manila.
“These so-called golden years of Philippines was the result of the hard work and sacrifices of our athletes and coaches. And it was people’s money, taxpayer’s money that made it all possible,” said Ramirez.
The outstanding success of Philippine sports in major competitions, highlighted by weighlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold in the Tokyo Olympics, in the last six years was not by chance or conjured out of thin air, stressed Ramirez.
“These achievements were not done by magic. Hindi ito tsamba,” noted.
“Kung wala kang itinanim, wala ka rin aanihin,” added the PSC honcho of the hundreds of millions of pesos the government sports agency has poured into elite sports and national athletes that led to the country’s fruitful campaigns overseas.
“I was blessed that we had the money when I came back as PSC chairman and knew the need of our national athletes since I stayed with them at the Philsports Complex dorms in Pasig,” said Ramirez in the session backed by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, PSC, Philippine Olympic Committee, Unilever, Amelie Hotel Manila, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
He disclosed the PSC invested P600 million in elite sports at the start of his second term in 2016, P800 million in 2017, then over P1 billion in 2019 as the national athletes primed themselves for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The fruits of that investments resulted in the country bagging four golds, two silvers and five bronzes in the highly-competitive 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, recapturing the SEA Games overall crown in 2019 at home with 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals, and its first gold medal in the Olympics in Tokyo last year courtesy of the heroics of Diaz.
Counting the Olympic silver medals of boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, and the bronze of fellow fighter Felix Eumir Marcial, the Tokyo Olympic edition was the best Philippine outing in the quadrennial Summer Games since Filipinos made their debut in the 1900 Paris Olympics.
“The PSC has not been remiss in supporting our Philippine delegations to overseas competitions. This has been very, very clear,” he said, adding that the feats were a “collaborative effort of the PSC, Philippine Olympic Committee, and National Sports Associations.”
To sustain the gains in Philippine sports in the next six years, Ramirez said the new leaders of the agency should learn how to adapt to the changing conditions.
“One of the most important pillars of management is adaptability. Our leaders need to be alert and adapt to the times. Hindi puwedeng patulog-tulog,” he said.
“We have to provide money, provide proper support for our sports such as sports science and provide good governance by our leaders.
You will not achieve this high level of performance in international competition without these provisions,” the PSC chief explained.
Ramirez said he was ready to step down at the end of the month after more than two decades of being associated with PSC, beginning as commissioner in 1998 under the administration of the late chairman Carlos Tuason.
“I am ready to return to Davao, but am willing to be an adviser and share my experience and knowhow with the incoming PSC leadership,” the 72-year-old Davao City native said.