‘WHAT’S UP PATAFA?’
PSC commissioner Fernandez criticizes athletics sporting body for dismal showing in Thailand
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner for the Visayas Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez criticized the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) anew for the failure of the Philippine team to bag even a single gold medal in the 13th Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championships held last April 1 to 4 in Thailand.
The Philippines’ 12-man delegation for the meet came up with a dismal finish, placing just seventh out of 10 nations that competed.
“It is very disappointing if am to say about this,” Fernandez told Cebu Daily News. “Imagine, we were outranked by Timor-Leste, a nation that has 1.3-million population.”
The Philippines finished with a single silver medal and three bronze medals, all coming from its female tracksters. Host country Thailand topped the competition with a 15-7-11 (gold-silver-bronze) haul followed by Vietnam (13-14-5) and Malaysia (6-2-3). Timor-Leste, which only sent 11 athletes for the meet, was a spot higher than the Philippines with total of eight medals (4 silvers,4 bronzes).
Fernandez previously criticized Patafa for axing Cebuana Olympian Mary Joy Tabal from competing in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last June.
Because of this, Fernandez said the PSC will partner with the proper government agency to look into this problem.
“There should be a review of Patafa’s program, considering that they received the biggest amount among NSAs from PSC,” he said.
Patafa, according to Fernandez, received a P35-million funding from the PSC, the biggest given among the country’s National Sports Associations (NSA). This is aside from the funds Patafa receives from the Ayala Corporation.
“This poor performance from our athletes must have something to do with Patafa’s training and coaching,” Fernandez said.
Case in point
Fernandez cited the longstanding issue of athletes from the provinces who are pirated by universities and schools in the National Capital Region (NCR). He noticed their diminishing performances after they transfer.
He pointed the case of former Central Visayas Athletic Association (CVIRAA) top trackster Samantha Gem Limos, a native of Dumaguete City who was with the University of Cebu (UC) for several years before moving to Brent International School in Metro Manila. He said Limos was once considered as the top sprinter in the Palarong Pambansa but after transferring to Manila, her performance started to decline, according to a source he refused to name.
Limos was part of the 12-man team of the Philippines in Thailand. She was responsible for one of the bronze medals for the country when she and the 4×400-meter girls relay team finished third.
He said that the PSC will take a deeper look into this matter and come up with a solution to prevent scouts from recruiting athletes from the provinces and luring them with scholarships, allowances, and other luxuries to transfer to universities in Manila where they usually end up being neglected.
“We will do our best in PSC to prevent this from happening to other athletes who have the potential to develop their talents but end up being stalled because of being separated by their families, introduced to a new training system and a new coach that they are not familiar with. They have to undergo a lot of stressful adjustments that greatly affects their performances and we want to come up with a solution in PSC to address this problem,” Fernandez said.
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