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Davao City, Philippines

PSC sees long-term grassroots sports program as best legacy

February 28, 2020 - Friday 8:02 AM by Daniel Joaquin, Romeo Braceros

Article Banner Image PSC chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez speaks to the media at the DSA Forum on February 27. Photo by Arjoy M. Ceniza

DAVAO CITY -- The country’s top sports official believes a strong grassroots sports program is the best legacy in sports the Duterte administration can give the Philippines -- much better than an Olympic gold medal.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez told the media on Thursday at the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum at the Annex of SM City Davao that although it is one of their goals to win the country’s first ever gold medal in the Olympic games, their biggest priority is to create a strong sports program to support positive development in Filipino children.

Ramirez said the PSC, under the Duterte administration, has been working hard to create programs in the grassroots level to take the country’s youth out of the poverty cycle and give them more opportunities when they grow up.

Ramirez, a former sports official here, said his agency has various grassroots sports programs that not only seek to find future elite athletes, but also teach young children the values of discipline and sportsmanship, among others.

"What we really want to foster is character development and strong leadership among our children," he said.

"We need to teach our young children that playing is not all about winning, but making friends as well." the PSC chairman said.

Ramirez added that the PSC is able to focus on grassroots sports development because it is the primary responsibility of the national sports associations (NSAs) to train their members and turn them into performing athletes.

Medal-rich sports over popular ball games

Ramirez highlighted that the Philippines must accept the fact that basketball is not the country’s ticket to an Olympic gold medal, no matter how much Filipinos love the sport.

Sa team sports, kutob lang ta pang-Southeast Asian (SEA) Games dira (We are only contenders up to the Southeast Asian Games when it comes to team sports),” adding that despite winning all four gold medals in basketball in the recent SEA Games, we are far from being considered a top-tier team in the world cup or Olympics.

“We need to focus more on swimming and track and field since these sports can produce more golds in international tournaments.”

In addition, Ramirez said the country should turn to taekwondo (Pauline Lopez), skateboarding (Margielyn Didal), and judo (Maria Takahashi), among others.