President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. promised on Wednesday to intensify government support for the country’s sports development by carrying out a detailed plan and putting up modern training facilities for Filipino athletes.

Speaking during the welcome and awarding ceremony for the medalists of the 19th Asian Games 2023, the President said that his government values the great influence of sports in developing the society which is why his administration continues to support initiatives and programs to promote sports development.

“Marami na rin tayong nagawa. Ngunit, aasahan ninyo dadagdagan pa natin ang ating suporta para sa ating mga atleta at sa susunod makakaramdam naman tayo ng mas maganda pang resulta sa ating mga international competition,” Marcos said during the event held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

“I said this when I addressed our Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games medalists: We know and understand that for our athletes to succeed in these competitions, they need all the help that they can get, especially from their government.”

To achieve this goal, the President said the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is implementing a Five-Year Sports Development Plan for 2023 to 2028, aimed at addressing the long-standing concerns of Filipino athletes by encouraging participation in all levels of government and the private sector.

Other government thrusts include providing assistance to state universities and colleges (SUCs) to fix and refurbish sports facilities, exploring partnerships with the private sector to construct basketball courts in public schools, gyms, facilities, as well as encouraging local government units (LGUs) to support sports development in their respective localities.

The government is also developing New Clark City as a sports hub in the Philippines in order for the national athletes to utilize the training facilities of the New Clark City Athletics Stadium and the Aquatics Center for free, Marcos said.

“The government established the National Academy of Sports to promote the development of the athletic skills and talents of students through a  secondary education program,” Marcos said, hoping that the Academy and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will fast track and operationalize the facility for athletes’ benefit.

And to take care of athletes injured during training and competition, Marcos directed the PSC to work with PAGCOR and other agencies to strengthen the country’s Medical Scientific Athlete Services Unit. 

“We need to help our injured athletes so that they recover quickly and they can get back in the game,” he said.

The President also called on donors with influence and resources to continue helping Filipino athletes for them to excel in their chosen field.

“Sa ating mga atleta, ito, ganito ang hamon ko sa inyo: Keep aspiring, keep believing, keep working. Spare no effort to unlock your full potential and be the best versions of yourselves,” said Marcos.

Recognizing those who bagged 18 medals during the regional sports event, the President said, “On behalf of a proud and a grateful nation, I salute and I recognize the excellent performance that you displayed in the 19th Asian Games.”

“Of course, again, we must recognize the efforts ng ating mga coach, ng inyong mga pamilya na malaki ang kanilang sinakripisyo na hindi lang ilang araw, hindi lang ilang linggo, kung hindi ilang taon upang kayo ay maging ganyan kagaling, upang tulungan kayo na makuha ninyo ang inyong pinapangarap na mga medalya para sa Pilipinas.”

The Philippines won gold medals in Men’s Pole Vault, Men’s basketball, and Women Ju-jitsu (48 kg and 57 kg), silver medals in Men’s boxing, and Men’s Wushu (56kg).

It also won bronze medals in Men’s BMX Race (Cycling), Women’s Ju-jitsu (52kg), Men’s Sepak Takraw, Women’s Tennis (Singles and Women Mixed Doubles), Women’s Weightlifting (64kg), Men’s Wushu (60kg and 65kg), and Wushu Men’s Taijiquan and Taijijian (All-Around).  

The medalists received presidential citation as well as cash incentives from the government.  | PND

Photo Courtesy of PCO