(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after.
— Naturalist Henry David Thoreau
CALOOCAN CITY, Metro Manila — Tokyo Olympian Ernest John ‘EJ’ Obiena made it back—formally returning to the fold of the national team after being endorsed by the Philippine Athletics, Track and Field Association (PATAFA).
Obiena’s return is no fluke because he has proven himself not only to the country’s sports aficionados but to the whole world as well by reaping recognition and awards in international competitions.
But he is not the only athlete who has given the honor to the Philippines. In other disciplines, Filipino sports competitors and their female counterparts have likewise grabbed the limelight as they showcased their talent in football, volleyball, swimming, baseball, bowling, chess, tennis, boxing, judo, and several competitive sports events.
We have boxing icon Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao, the former pound-for-pound king of the world and eight-division titleholder. There is also Paeng Nepomuceno who several times scored complete strikes and won the world championship in bowling.
We also remember erstwhile Asia’s fastest woman Lydia De Vega, billiards wizard’ Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes, and the country’s and Asia’s first chess grandmaster Eugene Torre.
They are just a few of the country’s sports heroes and heroines and to mention every one of them would take pages to complete.
Yet, despite our indomitable fighting spirit to excel, we remain doubtful of our own skills and talent.
Is it because previous administrations repeatedly failed to support them, or what?
What happened to our local Ironman champ who couldn’t go on to compete because he lacked the sponsors to help him pursue his dream of excellence?
I recall how Jaime Sebastian bewailed the lack of funds in his illustrious career when he was then the country’s premier weightlifter.
With all these in mind, can we really consider ourselves as champions when time and again our government has failed to really support our athletes?
However, with President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. at the country’s helm now — and the former senator’s strong advocacy to bring back our country’s glory — we expect things will change in our sports programs and leadership and our athletes will finally receive their just rewards for giving prestige and honor to the Motherland on the international stage.
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