“It’s a milestone and a breakthrough for Philippine sports, and the best haul in so many years. It’s right for the athletes and the nation to celebrate the achievement that was made [at the Tokyo Olympics]. But when the celebration dies down, we have to start working again. It has been our best performance so far and our job is to keep improving,” said MVPSF Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan.
FOLLOWING the multi-medal performance of Team Philippines in the just-concluded Tokyo Olympic Games, efforts to sustain the achievement’s gains and push for improvement must be made moving forward, the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) said.
Speaking on One News’ The Chiefs on Monday night, officials of MVPSF noted that while the breakthrough showing of the country in the Olympics is something to celebrate about, the work continues for sustained success to be achieved.
“It’s a milestone and a breakthrough for Philippine sports, and the best haul in so many years. It’s right for the athletes and the nation to celebrate the achievement that was made,” said Manny V. Pangilinan, MVPSF chairman.
“But when the celebration dies down, we have to start working again. It has been our best performance so far and our job is to keep improving,” he added.
In the Tokyo Games, the Philippines hauled a total of four medals, including a first-ever gold won by weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz.
Boxers Nesthy A. Petecio and Carlo Paalam secured silver medals, while Eumir Felix D. Marcial also of boxing added a bronze.
The performance was the first multi-medal showing for the Philippines since the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles where three bronze medals were won.
The 1-2-1 medal haul for the country was also good for 50th place overall at the Tokyo Games.
Established 10 years ago, part of the vision of MVPSF was to help in winning the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal.
Since its inception, the organization has poured in at least P2 billion, apart from personal investments of its officials, towards achieving its goals for Philippine sports.
In the recent Olympics, MVPSF was well represented as the majority of the athletes who competed were supported by the foundation in one form or another, including Ms. Diaz and the boxing team.
Seeing its efforts make significant headways, the MVPSF is more determined to continue what it has started and reach even greater heights as far as its mission.
“We should sit down by September, look at the overall sports program that we undertook for the past 10 years; see what went wrong and what went right. Also, we should also plan ahead for future competitions,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
And it is not only the MVPSF but also the other sports stakeholders in the country.
“There is also a need not only from the private sector, but also from the government to really keep it (success) going. We set the bar high in Tokyo. The training of the athletes must continue and we have to give them the needed exposure to develop their game,” said MVPSF President Alfredo “Al” S. Panlilio.
Long-term efforts, too, must also be laid out, said Mr. Pangilinan.
From their end, part of their thrust moving on is setting up a Center for Sports Excellence, which would serve as a learning and training hub for athletes.
“It already has the hotel facilities there, rooms, and then space to build badminton courts, boxing gyms, basketball courts. And we’ll have sports psychologists, trainers, coaches living there as well, so it will effectively be a National Sports Center,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
As interest in supporting sports is expected to gain wind with the Filipino athletes’ success in Tokyo, the idea for the Philippine Business for Sports Development (PBSD) is now needed more than ever.
The PBSD, whose formation is being spearheaded by Mr. Pangilinan, is designed to strengthen private sector support for Filipino athletes.
“We should have a Philippine Business for Sports Development, invite major companies, sponsors, that might be willing to support,” he said, taking note of its impact on the training of elite athletes and grassroots sports initiatives.
The journey for the MVPSF has been a challenging one and it expects to continue being so, but Mr. Pangilinan said it is all worth it, especially seeing what the athletes have achieved and the efforts they put in. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo