These days, the name Monsour del Rosario is still very much identified with sports, especially taekwondo.
That’s because he brought honor to the country as part of the Philippine National Taekwondo Team in the 1980s. Among his achievements are the gold medals in the 14th and 15th Southeast Asian Games and a bronze medal in the 10th Asian Games. He also reached the quarterfinal round of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
In 2017, he was named Man of the Year Award by the World Taekwondo Federation, making him the first Filipino and foreigner (non-Korean) to receive such accolade since it was launched in South Korea (where taekwondo originated).
As a sportsman, it wasn’t all bed of roses for the young Monsour, whose parents separated when he was 11 years old. Good thing he has a grandmother, who lovingly raised him. That’s why, he said, he has always had a soft spot for the elderly.
Monsour has had the opportunity to train in his chosen sports in the US where he also worked as a street sweeper.
“I also had to pick food from the garbage just so I can eat,” Monsour shared in an interview with the press.
When he came to the Philippines from the US, Monsour admitted that he was “self-destructing.”
It was at a competition in Malaysia when he asked God to put him on the right path.
“If not for my love for sports, taekwondo, and the Philippines, I may not be here anymore. There was one fight in my life, in Malaysia, I made a pact with God that if I made it through that game, I will straighten my ways,” he said.
And Monsour did as promised and even became a big name in show business until he joined politics. Now, he’s running for Vice Mayor in Makati, while Junjun Binay runs as Mayor.
Being a sports ambassador and Chef De Mission in international competitions, Monsour wants to promote sports in Makati. The Filipino athletes brought home two gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze medals during his stint as Chef De Mission in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
“I hope that I can already do what I have been planning for a long time already for the youth. As you know, I became a Chef De Mission in AIMAG and also deputy chef de mission for Southeast Asian Games and for this year I was tasked by Malacañang to be the Chef De Mission for Manila Southeast Asian Games. So, sports is really close to my life,” he said.
Monsour hopes to train athletes that might potentially bring home the most coveted gold medals in Olympics, especially that the Philippines doesn’t have a gold medal yet.
“I want to help the youth in Makati. They have a big fund. We might be able to find here an Olympic gold medalist. Until now, we don’t have an Olympic gold medalist yet. Before I leave this Earth, hopefully, I can see a Filipino winning an Olympic gold medal,” he said.
He wants to create a sports program that may develop young talents into athletes, that may eventually join the national teams. Monsour believes that sports can also help the youth to turn away from drugs and other vices.
“I have many plans here. I want to put comprehensive, substantial, and continuous sports program for the barangay and not just for summer only. I want it to be continuous and expose them in the national level. I want them to compete with each other per barangay, district versus district, then whoever becomes the champion of the city, we send them to national competition. Hopefully, they get to the national team and also be scouted by the colleges and universities so they can have scholarship. The kids will be healthy too,” he said.
That’s why he is all praises to President Duterte for signing into law RA 11214 with the main goal of establishing the Philippine Sports Training Center.
“I worked on this since my day 1 in congress back in 2016. As one of the principal authors, I am happy that the president signed it on February 14 this year. He’s the only president who did this—listening to the Sports Community and the thousands of Filipino youth athletes of the country,” said the Chef de Mission of the Philippines for the 2019 SEA Games which is happening in the country.
“Ang huling sports center sa Pilipinas ay itinayo noong 1934—‘yung Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Mas matanda pa sa parents ko! So let’s go team Pinas! Pangarap ko talagang makatuklas ng mga bagong talento! Oras na ng Pinoy to shine in sports,” Monsour said.