Former Gintong Alay head honcho Mike Keon certainly had a lot to say about the state of Philippine sports today.
Presently the Mayor of Laoag City and gunning for a second term next year, the 67-year-old Keon has retained his passion for sports, being a former track runner himself. He admitted though that the current pandemic has really stopped him from revitalizing sports in the city upon his assumption of office in 2019.
Outside of his Gintong Alay achievements and his role in the country’s winning the overall championship in the 2005 South East Asian Games when he served as training director, Keon also had the Ilocos Norte completely dominating the Ilocos Region Athletic Association from 2000 to 2010.
Fast forward to the present, Keon expressed his elation at the way the Philippines performed in the last Tokyo Olympics, highlighted by Hidilyn Diaz’s gold-medal win, the boxing’s haul of 2 silvers and a bronze medal, and even EJ Obiena in the field event, even as he was not able to deliver a medal.
“That was certainly our greatest performance in the Olympics and I give credit to the government for helping make that happen. But looking forward, I still believe what the country needs is a long-term sports program, consistent and sustained, with specific training sites and long-termed coaches with specific goals. The program should be beyond politics that whoever sits at the top in sports, the program remains inviolable, “ explained Keon.
Continuing his analysis, “there has to be a good foundation in sports and you build on that, we have the local talents I believe, it is a matter of training them systematically and continuously. Unfortunately, because sports here is riddled with politics, and it is whim, you know not what you know that matters, we just go around in circles,” added Keon.
For him, that is the magic formula for success in sports, though he says it is a no brainer to come up with the solution to the country’s sports problem.
“The problem really is and remains to be is politics,” said Keon.