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Stakeholders urge DepEd: Reinstate weightlifting in Palaro

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | June 20,2024 - 08:36 PM

weightlifting palaro

Monico Puentevella, SWP president giving his speech during the 2024 National Weightlifting Open in Cebu. | by Glendale Rosal

CEBU CITY, Philippines — One of the biggest ironies in Palarong Pambansa is the absence of weightlifting among its 34 sports disciplines.

Prominent sports stakeholders, including Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) President and renowned sports advocate Monico Puentevella, remain perplexed by the Department of Education’s (DepEd) reluctance to reinstate weightlifting in Palarong Pambansa.

Ironically, the Philippines’ first and only Olympic gold medal was won by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, highlighting the sport’s importance.

Puentevella recently visited Cebu to oversee the 2024 National Weightlifting Open at SM Seaside City Cebu. During his visit, he reiterated his call for weightlifting to be reinstated in Palarong Pambansa.

He is collaborating with local organizers from the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC), led by chairman John Pages, to advocate for the sport’s return.

This year, Palarong Pambansa will be hosted in Cebu City from July 9 to 16, marking its return to the city in 30 years, with events happening in various venues in Metro Cebu.

“Matagal na yan eh, they promised me the sun and the moon and nothing happened. I will be honest with them because I was very disappointed. Actually, the way to improve sports in this country, not only weightlifting, is to restore the physical education (PE). Wala ang PE, and all the kids are using mobile gadgets to play games,” Puentevella told CDN Digital.

As part of their efforts, the SWP plans to hold a weightlifting exhibition during Palarong Pambansa, similar to what they did last year in Marikina City.

“But then again, if you don’t have sports-minded people in DepEd, that’s what happens. You have to have sports-minded people in DepEd. I don’t know why DepEd is very slow in putting back weightlifting in Palaro,” Puentevella explained.

National weightlifting coaches Antonio Agustin Jr., Ramon Solis, and Kelly Rojas also stressed the importance of including weightlifting in Palarong Pambansa.

Agustin Jr. recalls the sport being removed from Palarong Pambansa in 1987.

“Sabi ko, I was a frustrated Palarong Pambansa player because nag division meet ako. Naglaro ako sa division sa weightlifting, ayun, na dissolve na yung weightlifting. Pinaka reason nila is the lack of participants. The rule of Palarong Pambansa, six to eight regions, konti lang ang participants ng weightlifting,” said Agustin Jr.

From Ifugao to Davao, almost every region in the Philippines now has weightlifting programs, proving the sport’s popularity.

Solis, coach of Olympic-bound Elreen Ando and John Febuar Ceniza, emphasized the significance of Palarong Pambansa in discovering aspiring athletes.

“Product sad baya ko sa Palaro way back 1973 tawag pa ana kay Palarong Pilipino. Nausab nalang ang pangalan, dapat mabalik na gyud na kay anha ta makakuha ug aspiring athletes. Naa naman unta to pero kay nag demo na last year sa Marikina, unya sige na ug meeting, pero wala naman na hisgotan about ana,” Solis said.

Rojas, one of SWP’s newest national coaches, expressed her disappointment over the continued exclusion.

“Disappointed ko kay dugay na baya nag-hope ang mga coaches and athletes nga unta maapil na sa Palaro kay since naka demo na last year nya wala pa gihapon. Sayang ang mga younger athletes nga unta naay additional games to look forward pero minghoy lang sa,” said Rojas.

Despite this, weightlifting is one of the regular sports in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)-backed Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games.

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TAGS: Palarong Pambansa, Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas

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