How to Improve Athletics in the Philippines

Table of Contents

Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines

First Published Sept 24, 2013

Coming a long way since and wrote this article. I have put my feedback in red. Read commentary by Pirie Enzo. Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines. Due to the sheer size of this article, I have had to divide it into smaller posts.

  1. Synchronization of the Calendar
  2. Regionalization – less emphasis on the central UAAP System which in a sense as per data has a very low output
  3. Walks
    1. Titus Salazar
    2. Training of more walk officials so can have official meets
  4. Due to the recent issue with EJ Obiena, there is the need to fix the payroll system for athletes so money is going directly to a coach
  5. Better Coaching Accreditation system maybe with help of ATFCA
  6. Better 400m Coach after the poor results in 4×400 4th mens, 400 men’s and womens no medal last 2 sea games of the last SEA Games. Possibly Candelario.
  7. Castro and Herrera as part of a long-distance coaching staff in addition to Buenavista.
  8. More variety in long-distance Road relays, road walks, cross country, 500m sprint races for kids
  9. Revenue earning system so PATAFA is not just reliant mainly n PSC funds

EDITORIAL: Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines: Why Athletics is Not Popular in the Philippines?

Airnel T. Abarra

Basketball, Boxing, Billiards, Volleyball, and Football. Expect those sports are the major content of sports pages among mainstream media outfits in the Philippines.

As an Athletics enthusiast. I need to check different sources to view the latest news and information about Track and Field. Being one of the oldest sports in human history and the centerpiece event of the Olympic Games.


We may wonder why is it that Athletics is not popular in the Philippines?

This article will explore Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines.

Other sports such as Basketball, Boxing, and Billards will never be as popular as we have our home-grown heroes.

However, Track and Field is a priority sport for the PSC and is the sport we may win the most golds.

At the SEA Games level, Basketball, Volleyball, and Football only make up for one gold medal.

Whereas Track and Field are around 40 events, so 40 golds are the maximum.


Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines: Market-driven media hegemony

Improve Athletics in the Philippines

Media outfits in the likes of ABS-CBN, AKTV and GMA are only covering sports with enough mass appeal. Since they are private companies, they have one thing in their mind: Profit. They only air sports that get the most number of sponsors. Because of their influence among sports fans.

Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines

They confine the audience with limited choices and put other sports in the last line.

Another theory is how the United States’ cultural hegemony affects our choice of what sport we should follow.

The Philippines has become a basketball fanatic nation because the US introduced us to that sport.


Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines: Since mainstream sports are the ones always being covered. We can expect people will not be interested in watching or even trying sports like Athletics.

We have to make athletics more interesting to the public, and the way to do this is through elite meets.

People have a concise attention span when it comes to sports. For example, no one likes to watch 18 rounds of golf.

Athletic meets in Grand Prix format.

Without the bother of watching rounds and heats is much more interesting for the public.

Of course, media, also a source of entertainment, will bank on sports with athletes with “pleasing personalities.”

Entwining a media set-up to the entertainment industry.

Seeing most of the mainstream athletes follow suits to the standard of what is beautiful to a common Filipino: model material “artistahin,” etc.

Since Athletics, there is not much “artistahin,” we can expect private mainstream media not to bank after them unless they win a big competition overseas.

Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines

Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines: Compared with media in other countries, state-run stations cover mostly big events with track and field as the main preference.

Japan has NHK, the UK has the BBC, and China has CCTV. If our government enables our state-run station, People’s Television Network, to expand its capabilities and, if possible, beef up with more funds. We may expect more coverage for track and field.

Another example is how there is no live coverage for Palarong Pambansa.

Even it is esteemed as the National games of the Philippines. Ironic, isn’t it?


Another factor is that the current media setup lacks a true Athletics analyst.

No Dyan Castillejo, Qunito Henson, Ronnie Nathanielsz, and TJ Manotoc can explain and analyze the sport.

During the Sydney 2000 coverage of PTV, Mr. Freddie Abando became the athletics reporter even though he is a news reporter.

The mainstream media sports setup doesn’t breed new sportscasters who can be experts in Athletics.

There are plenty of unofficial analysts. For example, Pinoyathletics.info and several other bloggers already provide far better insight than mainstream media.


No new sporting heroes

Although our current national athletes are winning in some events overseas, they still can’t equate to Lydia De Vega, Elma Muros, Isidro del Prado, etc. Moreover, because no athletes have been breaking through major athletics tournaments for the past 6-7 years, we expect people to not look much for them. Still, our national athletes are doing their best; still, we need a new talent to emerge and serve as the sport’s face to gain public attention.

We have a new crop of athletes coming through EJ Obiena, Eric Cray, Kristina Knott, and Willie Morrison, which is not an issue anymore.


Conservatism in the Athletics National Sports Association (NSA)

Compared with other Athletics Associations of most high-performing countries. Most of them had a true and working website where all news, events, and records are disclosed to the public.

With the popularity of social networking sites.

We may think that Athletics in the Philippines may get popular and more transparent.

Yet due to the inaccessibility of records in real-time and the lack of a centralized resource hub for Athletics records and news.

Questions about the validity of records hound the NSA for PHI Athletics.

If only the NSA will maximize social media use and have a true media bureau desk among their ranks, the chances of informing people about athletics will be much better.

Make the most out of everything.

Pinoyathletics.info is playing this role right now; check it out. :).

In light of inconsistencies between records, I did Message PATAFA President Philip Juico regarding the need for transparency between sets of records by Pinoyathletics, PATAFA, and Wikipedia, respectively, but my emails were ignored.


Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines: The education of athletes and coaches should be done.

It should not be only about doing academics.

But researching innovative ways in training and performance.

UP CHK, for example, is doing different studies about athletic training.

Yet, only a few collaborate with the college to consult their training methods if it is in synch with existing studies in Athletics.

As we always said, what you learn during your athletic years is not the same as what should be done now.

In common sense, experience is not always the gold standard; education, competence, and track record should be.

A good coach will always find new ways through their diligent research and always update their knowledge in seminars done via the IAAF and sports science clinics.


To top all of this, the NSA should do something and convene all stakeholders in Philippine Athletics.

There should be no room for factionalism or secrecy among its ranks.

Open records to anyone who wants to check it out.

It creates room for trust and confidence, especially among sponsors who want to help Philippine athletics.

And must hear all sides and must raise collective statements and actions.

Unity among diversity is the key to success.

This is beginning to happen.

Pinoyathletics.info shares knowledge from the organization of PATAFA with the community.


There are a lot of things to make Athletics a sport of choice among Filipinos.

We must think about the betterment of the nation because its citizens pay taxes to develop our sport.

Innovation, transparency, and continuous striving for excellence should always be the core values of any discipline.

Trust builds confidence, confidence creates relationships, and relationships create new things.

Should we begin now?

I think this is very open to discussion, and we should continue to hold talks here.

Editor’s note: We are open to any comments and reactions to this article. Let’s have a discussion. Email us at pinoyathletics@gmail.com


Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines What Philippine Athletics should do?

By: PinoyAthletics Editorial Team*

Our first editorial, “Why Athletics is not popular in the Philippines,” stirred discussions among the PinoyAthletics community members.

One may ask, now that you pinpointed the problems, what is your alternative?.

This follow-up article will try to roll out our alternative game plan for Philippine Athletics.

Start with a clean slate Since 1990, only one leader resides in the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

To be fair to them, we will not cite the leaders’ names but instead focus on what matters most: Start with a fresh mandate. Attributing to the debacle of PHI athletics for the past years is laid-back leadership.

Of course, mainstream media witnessed how PATAFA leadership was the talk of the town.


To give way to a true leadership change, PSC and POC must open to the public holding a true, independent, and clean election in PATAFA.

With the aid of technology and social media, it should be in the live streaming video how the International Olympic Committee holds host city elections.

It will create an atmosphere of openness and innovation among stakeholders in Philippine Athletics through collective and strong leadership.

Genuine, mass-based, and scientific Athletics program Genuine in the sense that it should serve the Filipino people’s interests, who are the primary investor in Philippine Athletics funds through their taxes.

And must properly implement transparency from the highest honchos down to the athletes themselves.

Regular submission of financial statements and, of course, event results posted on a working and user-friendly website should start this up. Conservatives may say that budget is always the problem.

Of course, it is given that PSC lacks funds, but to haul sponsors, the agency itself must package itself as a trustworthy organization fitted for a sponsorship deal.

Moreover, records should be open for public scrutiny and regular caucus and should be set.


Mass-based activities through a total reform in local PATAFA chapters to all provinces and cities in the Philippines.

Local government units will realize that PATAFA is connecting their people is the National Sports Association for Athletics.

Through continuous education of athletes, coaches, and trainers to the latest and scientific training programs based on sound research by educational institutions like the College of Human Kinetics of the University of the Philippines.

Those who and will give those opportunities for continuing education will be chosen based on their honest intentions and capabilities and not just for self-promotion or prestige.

From the regional down to the city or municipal levels, the Athletics club should be institutionalized. PATAFA chapters should be steering the track and field activities and contesting the true national governing body.


That’s why and must implement the concept of a club system for the local Athletics club.

All those clubs will compete in a National Open or its equivalent and select the National Team pool.

With the numerous Athletics competitions like Palarong Pambansa, UAAP, NCAA, and UniGames.

The Philippine Athletics calendar should be in harmony and not in conflict with each other’s different events.

Through setting up local competitions regularly with PATAFA as a prime organizer, new talents in the community will be motivated to stay in the sport since competitions and other events are there to join in and not just wait for one Palarong Pambansa every year for their exposure.

In the presence of numerous road-running activities, PATAFA should be the sanctioning body for these events, like what the Games and Amusements Board are doing in professional sports.

PATAFA should not be a sleeping giant waiting for talents just to knock on their doors but integrate themselves into the masses.

That is where talents and future champions are discovered.

And should destroy the ivory tower concept in sports.


Scientific Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines

What training program we did in the ’80s will not suffice for this era. So the continuous implementation of scientific training programs should be a cornerstone of athlete development.

PATAFA should not just only send athletes for training overseas

But inviting and immerse with coaches and trainers from different countries like Germany, Russia, etc.

We are sure by contacting and creating agreements with Athletic powerhouse countries.

It will result in innovations.

As we noted earlier, the UP College of Human Kinetics pool of young sports scientists and human movement science experts can provide PATAFA with the latest information.

Also, other research agencies like the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development- Department of Science and Technology can be tapped through their researchers may find ways to manage the well-being of the athletes.


Inclusive and collective leadership

Successful organizations have a main component: unity and cooperation among their ranks. People working in the organization should be competent and has all the values of a servant.

By removing the political influence and self-interests by constant disposition checks and balances as well as self-criticism.

Philippine Athletics patrons will not divert to different leadership perspectives but only follow one line: serving the people.

Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines.

All the things we say here will not miraculously heal Philippine Athletics.

Our stand is that change must start as soon as possible inside and outside the system; find ways for total reform, if not a revolution, in the organization and all the people involved.

Make Athletics has its place in the sun and map of the Philippine Sports scene; inspire athletes and the masses that we should be serving in the first place.

Comments, reactions, and invitations for a thorough discussion are most welcome on Ways to Improve Athletics in the Philippines.

*Andrew Pirie and Airnel T. Abarra






Improve Athletics in the Philippines


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