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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sports academy key to quest for gold in sports, says ZamboSur guv

By Claro A. Lanipa

In the recently concluded 2015 Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Athletic Association (ZPRAA) Meet held in Pagadian City, the Zamboanga del Sur delegation emergedas the over-all champion in the secondary level  and second in the elementary levelduring the four-day competition leading seven other delegations in the region.

Apparently, this is the product of the Provincial Sports Academy created and established by the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur under the initiative and strong leadership of Governor Antonio H. Cerilleswith the primary purpose of helping develop our potential athletes in the countryside.This program is also being supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), training athletes in the country for future competitions in the local and international level.

Cerilles observed that at the recent ASEAN games wherein the Philippines got only one gold medal that is in cycling, the winner was not locally bred, but an American, though his parents are Filipinos.

To refresh our memories, Cerillessaid, “dating back to the 1950’s, we were either second, third in the ASEAN gamesamong 10 member-nations. We came out champion or runner-up, but sad to say the Philippines has lagged behind in the ASEAN games – we are at 7thplace, we are just above Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, other countries have overtaken the Philippines.

Our country became much more frustrated, when we participated in the Olympic Games and not achieving even a single medal in the competition, so the government created the Philippine Sports Commission with the hope that we will be able to develop sports in the country.

Similarly, during the Western Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (WMRAA) Meet in the past years,  Zamboanga del Sur ranks far behind from other provinces and cities in the region with Zamboanga City delegation always emerging as champions.

This is one of the factors that drove the governor to put up a sports academy in the province, to train potential young athletes in the countryside for them to be more competitive.

With the creation of the Provincial Sports Academy during the incumbency of Governor Antonio Cerilles in 2010, Zamboanga del Sur slowly bounced back, came out champion in 2013, runner-up in 2014 and again champion in this year’s  ZPRAA Meet.

Governor Cerilles attributes the victories to the establishment of the Provincial Sports Academy. Since cities have their own delegation, our potential athletes from the province would be difficult to train in the municipalities because of the distance. So the good governor decided to put up our own sports academy utilizing the special education fund(SEF), provide the pre-screened potential high school student/athletes free board and lodging, food, uniform,  and all the basic necessities they need.

To date,  there are 200 student athletes in the academy, undergoing year-round training on different sports events and academics as well. Teachers, trainors, including tutors, sociologist, phsychologist and nutritionist were hired by the provincial government to focus on their training and academic needs.

“We have to prepare them not only physically but academically, because later on if they will succeed, a scholarship will be offered to them and they will not shy-away from the offer,” Governor Cerilles said.

Asked as to his comments on the good performance showed by the athletes in the recently concluded ZPRAA meet, the governor replied, “Iam happy because that is for their own good. To give them a chance to change their lives, because most of them came from very poor families, and second, to keep them away from dangerous drugs or any other vices that will eventually destroy their future.”

This year’s ZPRAA meet, earned for Zamboanga del Sur a total of 82 gold medals, 66 silver medals and 55 bronze medals both in the secondary and elementary level.