One debacle after another for Philippine sports

Philippine sports has suffered one debacle after another. The failure to win a medal in the London Olympic Games was understandable considering the quality of the competition but the real disaster was our performance in the last two, low-level Southeast Asian Games where we finished fifth in Laos and sixth in Indonesia.

That was an unmitigated disgrace but none of our sports leaders had the decency if not the courage to admit that they failed miserably and do the honorable thing by resigning. Instead, after all the poor performances some of them have the gall to seek another term.

In London, POC president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and PSC chairman Richie Garcia both sang the same old refrain joined by other members of the friendly chorus in stating what should be done to turn things around if that is at all possible.

What they failed to do is to answer the question, what have they done these past eight years? Regrettably, almost nothing.

On the fringes we have just about everybody pointing fingers at who they believe should be held responsible while others appear to be salivating to take over the posts of some of the National Sports Association leaders.

To us the bottom line is leadership. If our sports leaders don't demonstrate genuine concern for our athletes, fail to institute a sound, grassroots development program, tolerate NSAs that don't liquidate the money given them, we will continue to be mired in mediocrity.

It's worth recalling that when youthful Mike Keon headed Project Gintong Alay during the time of President Marcos, his budget was somewhere between P13 to P16 million. Now it's some P600 million with tremendous private sector support from such esteemed businessman-sportsmen like Manny Pangilinan.

Keon took the Philippines from the low-level Southeast Asian level and on to the Asian Games where such tremendous athletes as Lydia de Vega, Isidro del Prado, Hector Begeo, Elma Muros, swimmer Billy Wilson and others gave us the medals our current crop of athletes fail to garner.

Isn't it a tragedy that Lydia de Vega wasn't recognized by her own country and had to accept a position in Singapore where she trains athletes who will eventually compete against us? Isn't it a shame that Del Prado, one of the finest 400 meter men we've ever produced, is now coaching athletes in Brunei?

Asia's former sprint queen Lydia de Vega now trains athletes in Singapore. (Getty Images)

In fact, a young 400-meter runner who was trained by Del Prado competed in the Olympics and improved his best time by a phenomenal five seconds.

Yet our sports leaders apparently haven't the foresight to enlist the assistance of our past heroes.

As always, for what it's worth, our lone boxer in London, Mark Anthony Barriga was the only one to win and advance to the next round of the competition where the politics of boxing in the form of a Canadian referee robbed him of a chance to face defending light flyweight champion Zou Shiming of China.

Zou won the gold medal in another classic robbery where Thailand's Kiew Pongprayoon was penalized two points in the dying stages of the final round and the judges themselves ignored the domination of the Thai in the final round to declare Zou the winner.

Respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer put it best when Charly Suarez was denied the gold medal in the last Olympic qualifier where he lost to a Chinese boxer. Tony said Suarez didn't lose, China won!

For what it's worth boxing has been the constant saving grace. In the last SEA Games we won four gold medals and in the 2010 Asian Games in China won a gold, a silver and a bronze.

Sure, there's much that can be done but in the face of the dismal performances of the other NSAs, at least boxing has given us some respectability.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.