Archive for Philippine Olympic Team

The Future Of The Philippine Olympic Swimming Team

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2008 by South Arts Festival
The Future Of Philippine Olympic Swimming

The Future Of Philippine Olympic Swimming

The Philippine Olympic Swimming Team that represented the country in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were composed mostly of Fil-Americans who were varsity swimmers at the collegiate level back in the United States. With the advantage of first-world training facilities and very expert coaches, they were indeed the best that the Philippines had to offer.

During a recent drinking session, the topic of the Olympics came up and of course the topics ranged form the buzz on the performance of the Philippine Olympians. When the event of swimming came up to discussion, it was noted that most (if not all) of the members of the Philippine Olympic Swimming Team were Filipino-Americans. We found it quite ironic that for a country that is completely surrounded by ocean, the Philippines still has to rely on finding swimmers from another nation. Well, of course, the open water of the Pacific is in nowhere in the same ball park as a 50m chlorinated swimming pool, but I just wanted to point out that swimming should be one of our stronger events, considering that the Philippines is surrounded by water.

Now, if they can’t swim, then perhaps they can master the sport of rowing or kayaking. After all, most Filipino citizens who live by the ocean, and rely on the ocean for livelihood do certainly also know how to paddle a banca. Change the banca into a kayak, and perhaps we might have a future FIlipino Olympian win an  Olympic Gold Medal in sculling.

But going back to swimming – It is not unusual for a country to hire experts of another nation for training. We do that with our swimmers, and send them to the United States for further training just because of the fact that we don’t have enough qualified trainers in the country. But then, that doesn’t mean that we have to limit our choices to Filipino swimmers who had the privilege of international training.

I’d like to think that the Muro-Ami swimmers – those kids who dive several depths and can remain under water for a lengthy amount of time in one breath when they scare the fish into the nets – should be taken in and given the opportunity to develop their skills with the proper professional training in order to become competitive for the Olympics.

I firmly believe, that with all the ocean surrounding the country, there is a Filipino swimmer who can win an Olympic gold medal.

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Philippine Olympic Team’s Gold Medal Pursuit Rests With Taekwondo Jins

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Taekwondo Events Last Hope For Philippines To Win Olympic Medal

Taekwondo Events Last Hope For Philippines To Win Olympic Medal

Well, it’s almost all but done for the Philippine Olympic Team, who failed to grab a medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Of course, it isn’t over yet. Of the 15 athletes that represented the Philippines in Beijing, there are 13 of them who have dropped out any kind of medal contention. Those who gave their best efforts for the first Olympic Gold medal of the Philippines, but lacked out were – trapshooter Eric Ang, athletics representatives Marestella Torres and Henry Dagmil, divers Sheila Mae Perez and Rexel Ryan Fabriga, swimmers Daniel Coakley, Ryan Paolo Arabejo, Miguel Molina, James Walsh and Joan Christel Simms, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and archer Mark Javier.

The only hope now for the Philippine Olympic Team to grab a gold medal – or any medal for that matter – at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will rest on the shoulders of Taekwondo jinsToni Rivero and Tshomlee Go.

Whatever happens in the pursuit of the Olympic Gold in Beijing this 2008, I am still proud of the Filipinos who competed. Even without an Olympic medal. Of course, now it’s back to the drawing board before 2012 in London.

Philippine Olympic Boxer Harry Tañamor Will Not Bring Home The Gold

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Manyo Plange of Ghana defeats Harry Tañamor of Philippines

Manyo Plange of Ghana defeats Harry Tañamor of Philippines

The press release on Philippine Olympic Boxer Harry Tañamor was that he was the best bet of the Philippines to win a gold medal. However, it looks like the hype on Harry Tañamor can be put to rest as he lost in his first fight against boxer Manyo Plange from Ghana.

Tañamor lost 6-3 on points and got eliminated from the competition. According to reports, Harry Tañamor cried. Naturally, it must’ve been a heart-breaking experience, especially since many considered him as a strong contender to win an Olympic medal. Oh well. One more disappointment for the Philippines.

I don’t want to expound on this anymore. It’s so disheartening to write about yet another loss for the Philippines. Of course, I give Harry a pat on the back. Thanks for representing the country and doing your best. I’m just sad. Harry was the strongest contender for an Olympic gold medal, and now that he’s out, so what’s next? Do we still have a shot, or should we hang up the gloves?

Anyway, if you want to read more about it, then check out the Inquirer article by Ted Melendres.

Addressing The Alleged Corruption In The Philippine Olympic Committee

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine Politics, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , on August 13, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose S. Cojuangco Jr.

Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose S. Cojuangco Jr.

I went through the comments in my recent blogpost about the Philippine Olympic Team Ready To Win Gold At 2008 Beijing Olympics, and received a lot of comments about alleged corruption by the Philippine Olympic Committee, which apparently leads to the fielding of only 15 athletes for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The summary of the concern is – “Why only 15 Filipino athletes? Why wasn’t there more financial resources put in to add more athletes? And why is it that the support entourage outnumbers the athletes 3:1 including a Manny Pacquiao?”

Comment from Californian said something like, “Unfortunately, Philippines will not win any gold medal in Beijing Olympics. This does not mean that we do not have the best athletes in the world but that we do not have the best training facilities and the best training programs. This is a result of the the widespread corruption in the country where most of the governmental programs only exist in paper but are way far from achieving their goals.”

Ok. There were also a lot more said, and the basic question is where the hell is the funding for the Philippine Olympic Team, and why is there not enough to develop the training or to send more athletes? Is it really a case of government corruption?

Well, I’m not sure what the allocated budget is for the Philippine Olympic Committee, but the Philippine Olympic Committee has memberships from all sorts of national sports associations, or what they call as NSA’s. There are 38 regular member NSA’s of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Some of these NSA’s include the National Golf Association of the Philippines, National Chess Federation of the Philippines, Philippine Karatedo Federation, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association, Basketball Association of the Philippines, Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, Philippine Football Federation and more. The full list of recognized and accredited national sports associations by the Philippine Olympic Committee is available here.

I’m not certain, but it is my belief that for them to be accredited and recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee, they have to be able to show a national program in the development of their specific sport, and not just on paper, but by actually executing the program in a national level. One of the tasks of the NSA’s is to find smaller associations, and monitor and support them in the local programs they have for that particular sport.

For example, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is the national sport association that governs football in the Philippines and organize the Philippines National Football Team. The PFF also hosts the PFF National Men’s Open Championships, which is a national tournament that helps in the development of national football, and eventually acts as a stage with which to pick out the best players to represent the Philippines.

Now, the PFF has members from the Provinicial Football Associations for regions around the Philippines. There are about 30 of these Provincial FA’s from all over the Philippines. OF coures, each PFA has also its own member football clubs and associations. For example, the NCR FA has among its members – Kaya FC, Diliman FC, Philippine Army FC, San Beda College, Makati FC, Ateneo FC and more. Some are school-based teams, and some are extra-curricular clubs.

Now, competitions are held at the provincial level among the clubs registered with that PFA, then the top players are then invited by the PFA to represent that particular PFA in the National Tournament. That’s where the politics may begin, but then the decision to include anyone in the PFA, in this case the NCR FA, is really based on talent and hard work. It is usually awarded to the athlete who can dedicate their efforts and talent to training and hard work, and then once the National Tournament comes along, the picks on who will represent team Philippines for international competition will then be considered.

Once again I’m not sure, but the funds allocated to the Philippine Olympic Committee by the government budget will somehow have to trickle down to the National Sports Associations (NSA’s) of a particular sport, and then will trickle down again to the Provincial Sports Associations, to the schools or to the extra-curricular clubs who participate.

The funding is usually spent for coming up with tournaments and competitions at every level from provincial to national. And then, what remains will be left for training and for representation in international competition.

Now, to get to the Olympic stage is not just as easy as paying for a ticket and a registration fee, and saying I want to compete. Eventually, there are qualifications for entering the Olympics in other international competitions, such as the Southeast Asian Games or the bigger Asian Games. Of course, doing well in the SEA Games means you earn a trip to the next level, which are the Asian Games, and then if you do well there you get a spot to play in the Olympics against the rest of the other continents.

So, while we all hear of Filipino athletes bagging golds left and right in the SEA Games against the likes of Cambodia, VIetnam and Thailand, some of them drop out of their Olympic dream when they reach the stage of the Asian Games, where the competition includes the likes of China, Japan, Korea, Israel and more.

Of course, the qualifying process is different for every sport, but eventually the task of getting picked to go to the Olympics is not one that is made by the Philippine Olympic Committee itself. The Philippine Olympic Committee still has to go through the channels and deal with the various NSA’s, who in turn have to deal with all sorts of Provincial Sports Associations or Regional Sports Associations, and from there move on to the international qualification stages for the Olympics.

Another commenter on the post, taexrhs83, suggested going down to the grass roots level to develop sports training and such. Well, the grass roots in this case would be the schools, a huge percentage of them which are public schools, who can’t afford to pay the teachers or the renovation of classrooms, much less improve the school yard for a proper baseball field, or a proper basketball court. The local public school solicits from its local city mayor, and eventually the city mayor releases some funds, but of course, the school principal in charge of the funds prioritizes the purchase of textbooks instead of baseball gloves.

The city mayor and the congressman of the district pull together some funds to build a park, equipped with tennis, basketball and badminton courts, and sometimes that’s all they can do. The rest is left to the citizens of that area if they want to go get a badminton/tennis racket, or pick up a basketball. Sure, the young kids do it, and hopefully when they get to high school they won’t give in to the peer pressure of drinking and smoking, both of which are readily available in the nearest sari-sari store. And while the law says you can’t buy these products under the age of 21, who the fuck are you kidding?

Even little kids sell the cigarettes per piece for 2 pesos, and little boy Junior will always be asked by his uncle to go next door to get Emperador from Aling Nene, and Aling Nene will oblige little boy Junior.

Yup, the problems intertwine with all sorts of other things. Poverty mainly being the cause of what would stop one from being a successful athlete. Most parents can’t even afford a decent meal, let alone the proper shoes an athlete would require just to even run.

Of course, I’m just trying to give an objective view into how it works here in the Philippines. Give me time to do some research, and maybe we can get someone from the Philippine Olympic Committee give a better, more comprehensive explanation to answer for the allegations of corruption or under-developed athletes.

However, based on the results of these 2008 Beijing Olympics, while the Philippines may not have a medal – some of the Filipino athletes who’ve competed have made a remarkable feat by improving their personal best. And sometimes that’s all you can hope for – that each individual comes out of this experience a better person, with better energy, with more wisdom – and eventually that what they accomplish will be an inspiration for someone to be determined to do better. Of course, all in the name of the Philippines.

However, I’d still like to know if the POC paid for Manny Pacquiao’s ticket? Anyone, anyone?

Philippine Olympic Swimmer JB Walsh Brings Some Good News and Some Bad News From Beijing

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2008 by South Arts Festival

First, the good news:

Filipino-American JB Walsh emerged as the winner in Heat 2 of the Men’s 200-m butterfly swimming event. Not bad! Walsh finished 1:59.39, and while that time is still a far cry from the Olympic record of 1:54.04 set by USA’s Michael Phelps in the 2004 Athens Olympics, JB Walsh still earns a record as the first Filipino to swim through 200m under two minutes. I guess his training under 1988 Seoul Olympics gold medalist Anthony Nestey is paying off well.

Now, the bad news:

JB Walsh did not make it into the 16-man semis as his time ranked at 29th among the 44 swimmers of the event. He is ranked among the top 30 in the world in this event. At age 22, JB Walsh can still add some more training in order for him to improve in the 2012 London Olympics and possibly bring home an Olympic Gold Medal for the Philippines.

Even if he didn’t qualify for the semifinals, it was amazing enough to see a Filipino come out first in a heat, and besting a whole bunch of others from around the world. That alone is amazing, and was sure a moment of excitement for the Filipinos who got to watch. Olympics iyan, pare! For a brief shining moment, the Philippines stood proud!

Have some Philippine pride. Watch the video!

Philippine Olympic Team Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz Bows Out Of Medal Contention in 2008 Beijing Olympics

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Philippine Olympic Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz

Philippine Olympic Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz

17 year-old Hidilyn Diaz started her weightlifting career by sheer necessity. Growing up at Zamboanga at a young age, Hidilyn Diaz used to fetch water for her family’s use since they had no direct access to their community’s water supply. Yup, Taga-igib ng tubig!

At around age 11, she started her weightlifting training and was introduced by some of her relatives who used to compete at the national level. Once upon a time in the gym, Hidilyn Diaz bested some of the guys lifting weights, and she became an instant phenom. Standing only 4’11”, Hidilyn Diaz is the first Filipino weightlifter to be baned to the Philippine Olympic Team since 1988.

At the age of 13, Hidilyn Diaz was admitted into the national pool and given formal training to be among the best powerlifters of the Philippines. She placed 10th in the 53-kilogram class of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, and won the team gold medal in the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand in the 58-kilogram class. She was given a wildcard berth to the Olympics by the International Weightlifting Federation because of her 2007 SEA Games performance.

Well, she didn’t get much time to prepare for the 2008 Olympics, but she was very excited to represent the Philippines and be a part of the Philippine Olympic Team. Indeed, Hidilyn Diaz went all-out to do her best.

“I can’t wear sexy gowns or high heels. I can’t have a boyfriend and I walk like a boy. Sometimes I get jealous as my female friends go to school while I have to lift weights,” explained HIdilyn Diaz.

Such is the life of this Olympian, and it would’ve been a great Cinderella story if she could’ve pulled off winning a medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, as it stands, Hidilyn Diaz crashed out of the weightlifting event in the 58-kilogram category, ending up at 11th place out of the 12 contenders for the Olympic Gold Medal.

I’m still optimistic for Hidilyn Diaz, whom I expect to be back again for another shot at an Olympic Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics. After all, she is still young, and perhaps a few more years of proper training could definitely improve her. If ever, she will only be around 21 years old for the 2012 London Olympics. Unlike, say, Philippine Olympic trap shooter Eric Ang who is already 37 years-old, and might have a failing eyesight when he shoots in 2012.

Hidilyn, forget about the high heels and sexy gowns, and the boyfriend! Just lift those weights and get an Olympic Gold Medal. No Filipino has ever had that! And once you got it, I’m sure someone there won’t mind sponsoring some cosmetic surgery ala Vicky Belo for you to have your time in the spotlight with the sexy gown and the high heels. Get those 4″ stilettos so you can stand out at 5’3″. The boyfriend? You can always have more than one!

Philippine Olympic Team Ready To Win Gold At 2008 Beijing Olympics

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2008 by South Arts Festival
The Philippine Olympic Team at 2008 Beijing Olympics

The Philippine Olympic Team at 2008 Beijing Olympics

Here is the list of 15 Filipino athletes who will be representing the Philippines as part of the Olympic team that will compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Athletics: Marestella Torres and Henry Dagmil
Boxing: Harry Tanamor
Diving: Sheila Mae Perez and Rexel Ryan Fabriga
Swimming: Daniel Cockley, Ryan Paolo Arabejo, Miguel Molina, James Walsh and Joan Christel Simms
Weightlifting: Hidilyn Diaz
Shooting: Eric Ang
Archer: Mark Javier
Taekwondo:Toni Rivero and Tshomlee Go

Apart from these athletes, there are also coaches, Olympics officials, Olympic committee members, and even Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was in attendance. Oh yes, and even boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was around to lift the flag for the Philippines during the opening ceremonies at the Bird’s Nest stadium. There are also 5 Filipino athletes who will be participating in Wushu as a special event of the Olympiad.

In any case, the best bet to win an Olympic Gold Medal is Harry Tanamor, who will compete in the boxing event.

I’m not sure if we will be able to access some of the Philippines’ Olympic action on our TV/Cable channels. If there is any information on that, then please share it with the Philippines Fun Wall. But then, while we do support our fellow countrymen in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we’re also excited to watch Robinho, Ronaldinho, Pato and Kaka play for Brazil in Men’s soccer; Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James for USA in Men’s Basketball; Ana Ivanovic (Serbia), Roger Federer (Switzerland) and Rafael Nadal (Spain) for Tennis; Michael Phelps of USA in swimming, and Usain Bolt of Jamaica in running!

It’ll be great to watch the greatest names play well in their respective sports. Of course, it’ll be greater if the Philippines can win an Olympic Gold Medal and prove that they are among the best athletes in the world in that sport. So anyway – GO PHILIPPINES!!!