Sunday, September 29, 2013

Maasin City’s track oval and WAP's chosen wrestling coaches (an insight into Philippine sports at the grassroots)

Its surface is (still) barren earth; not yet tartan. And, according to an athletics official, the circumference of Maasin City’s outdoor track is only 390 meters long, 10 meters short of the international standard of 400 meters.

Still, the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC) “chose” it as the venue for the track and field events of the Visayas leg of the 2013 Batang Pinoy (Filipino Youth) games, for athletes 15 years old and below. (A no-brainer, really: Maasin City being this year’s host of the regional leg of the multi-sports event, we can be certain that it has no other track oval in its territory.)

(A young athlete racing on Maasin City's track oval inside the Tomas Oppus Pilot School. Photo from Batang Pinoy (Philippine Sports Commission Grassroots Program) Facebook page.)

Still, youthful dreams were, are, and will be born and made upon the soil of the track oval of the beautifully laid-back seaside city in Southern Leyte, Southern Philippines. Still, young and budding Filipino runners learned valuable lessons in sports on that incomplete track oval.

Besides, it’s not as if international-standard track ovals are sprouting like mushrooms all over our "still-developing" country…

But Maasin City’s track oval serves its purpose, and with the support of her sports-loving mayor Maloney Samaco (a former sports columnist himself for the Southern Leyte Times), we can expect it to be upgraded to international standard soon.

Likewise, the chosen coaches of the Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) – some club wrestling coaches, some former wrestlers, some MMA fighters and instructors, and some PE teachers – are doing their best in promoting and teaching the basics of the sport to young Filipinos in their respective areas of responsibility. And they will get better, amid criticisms from some malicious quarters.

And, just like members of most (if not all) organizations, most deliver, while some do not. But the fact that most are productive is a testament to WAP’s wisdom in its choices. And, let it not be lost here that, after WAP recommended and submitted their credentials to the PSC, the latter’s board decided to support them with monthly allowance.

We have to start somewhere, and we are getting there: from a small town or city in a Third World country, towards an Olympic village in the future.

The Maasin City track oval serves its purpose, through rain or shine -- and so do our wrestling coaches in our forsaken land.

PSC Board Resolution No. 549-2012

PSC Board Resolution No. 668(A)-2012

PSC Board Resolution No. 275-2013

Now, about the young talents discovered in the annual Batang Pinoy, assuming they grow up to be the senior national champions in their events and make it to the national teams of their sport, will they be given the chance to represent the country in international events like the Southeast Asian Games, at the very least? Well, I believe this topic deserves another article…

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