The next story was revealed on Inquirer RED’s April 2022 situation and has been edited for size and readability.
A number of weeks in the past, the Philippine ladies’s nationwide soccer staff certified for the 2023 FIFA Girls’s World Cup. Final yr within the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gained the Philippines’ solely Olympic gold medal thus far, with the delegation having a comparatively outstanding medal haul. Embattled pole vaulter EJ Obiena gained gold simply earlier this week on the Orlen Cup, a prestigious worldwide meet for track-and-field athletes.
These days, it’s a very good time to be a Filipino athlete—in the event you’re not a basketball participant, that’s.
Don’t get me fallacious: Filipino basketball gamers have what it takes to compete on the world stage, particularly with the instruments they’ve acquired to arrange them. The nation’s ardour for basketball is definitely not misplaced, as I really feel there shouldn’t be something stopping athletes from their goals of competing and successful on the highest degree. Our joint internet hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup is proof that we shouldn’t stop on these goals.
However our current success in different non-basketball sports activities is price ringing the decision for the Philippines to put money into these different endeavors, each as a authorities and as a society.
Despite the fact that we’ve made strides as a nation to begin recognizing and rooting for the non-basketball athletes we’ve acquired to supply to the world, we nonetheless have an extended solution to go in believing that each one sports activities are made equal. It’s admittedly an issue on each ends of the system—there’s fairly a little bit of failure to genuinely help all sports activities, and there’s additionally a common lack of curiosity from the inhabitants towards different sports activities.
The systemic failure is abundantly clear. Everybody is aware of the tales of how the federal government and the related associations make it laborious for our athletes to interrupt by means of and succeed. They’ve run out chess prodigy Wesley So and compelled him to take refuge in the USA, and so they’re at the moment doing the identical to the aforementioned Obiena. Diaz has continually complained a few lack of correct coaching services that would finest put together her for her competitions, which is probably going why she’s needed to practice in different nations—it took successful a gold medal for them to really acknowledge her.
The dearth of curiosity is a bit more insidious, however any Filipino athlete may be very a lot aware of the way it works. Despite the fact that folks would rally for help, the prevailing angle amongst everyone seems to be to solely take discover after the athlete has persevered and achieved success regardless of the indifference. It’s a tradition of rewarding the victorious when what they actually need is help in the course of the grind.
There’s additionally the matter of nationwide consideration being divided elsewhere. After the lads’s nationwide soccer staff kicked up a craze with their glimmer of hope in making it to the FIFA World Cup a decade in the past, they’ve largely been forgotten by many. It definitely didn’t assist that they didn’t get again to their successful methods, however folks not pouring the effort and time into serving to develop athletes could be merciless. The gold medalist Diaz herself is at risk of being forgotten already as effectively.
It’s true, although, that there are different greater issues on our collective plate proper now. There are different extra essential battles that must be fought, and ultimately, sports activities finally must take a backseat to extra essential points.
Nevertheless it’s additionally price remembering that these wonderful victories and successes go a great distance in bringing the nation collectively, and their energy and inspiration are nonetheless shiny spots for those who sorely want them. It’s at all times doable to do proper by our athletes, particularly after they want the assistance most.
Artwork by Nimu Muallam