Run Out of Poverty founder and respected track and field coach Tony Benson called for support for young track and field athletes in Davao City at the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum on Thursday.
Benson, who is now a consultant to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), expressed his elation towards his foundation’s partnership with the University of Mindanao (UM) and its track and field program.
Run Out of Poverty and UM signed a memorandum of agreement on September 27, Thursday, agreeing on a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Benson has expanded the foundation’s program to UM’s high school track and field team, saying that “You can’t create a great track and field team without starting at the bottom.”
Olympian Lydia De Vega, who was once under the tutelage of Benson, is proof of what the program is capable of achieving once it is given the support it needs.
“The time for talk is gone, now’s the time for action,” Benson said, referring to potential supporters and sponsors of the program.
He also mentioned the crucial role of the education department’s cooperation in the development of world-class athletes in terms of good facilities in schools.
One of the program’s athletes has already been invited to compete internationally, but Benson highlighted that such tournaments are not what they train for. Instead, he wants the program’s athletes to qualify for the Asian Games in the future.
Benson said he is not concerned with his athletes’ current level of skill and added “When I see talent, they will be good later.”
The program will also be holding a coaching training course that will invite 20 qualified coaches for assessment. Those who pass will be tapped to train the region’s best track and field athletes.