Recruiting Athletes in Philippines (Michael Keon)

Responses to Michael Keon Athletic Scouting

Article by Mariano Sesdoyro

Responses to Michael Keon’s Statements on Athletic Scouting

It’s not as simplistic as it seems the problem of poor performance of the Philippines of late. Despite an Olympic gold and world-class talents in EJ Obiena and Carlos Yulo, the Philippines in a broader sense has deteriorated as compared to our Southeast Asian neighbors. Former Gintong Alay Director and Laoag Mayor Michael Marcos Keon are partially correct in saying we lack a better system to search out sporting talent in the country, but many present-day factors have brought about the said deterioration.

Gate Keeping of NSA’s

One of the main reasons is the gatekeeping of many of the national sports associations (NSAs) which are either incompetently managed by leaders who are either without any sports qualifications or sports management skills. Gatekeeping and monopolistic management result in other symptoms such as corruption and political intrigues. The present sporting landscape has been brought about after the demise of Project Gintong Alay with the legislation and creation of the Philippine Sports Commission. An agency, whose main job is to promote sports as a propaganda tool for the government.

Even at that shallowest level, the PSC still needs the competence to produce the medals for the country and for this task the PSC relies on a private organization, the Philippine Olympic Committee or the POC for short. Since 1990, Philippine sports has had a two-headed monster gobbling up PUBLIC FUNDS to generate propaganda in the guise of PATRIOTISM, NATIONALISM, and POLITICAL ENTERTAINMENT through sports.


Why Invest? The bottomless pit

Some sports leaders keep saying it is an INVESTMENT. But investing in what? Investment means you reap rewards. EUPHORIA, JINGOISM, and TEMPORARY DISTRACTIONS? This country is in essence spending BILLIONS on PRIDE and INSPIRATION.

Hard-earned TAX MONEY is spent on PSYCHOLOGICAL and CONCEPTUAL CONSTRUCTS? How do you return the billions into government coffers on these medals? Simply answered, it can not be returned.

Sports are self-depleting and self-consuming. That is why in developed countries it is run by private sports federations, regional, and down-to-club systems that fund and generate income for their respective sports.

This is how it’s supposedly done but the Philippines has a welfare system for sports. Politicians and big business interests have created a patronage-dependent sports environment. This is the reason sports and the athletes therein are susceptible to political intrigue and dependence on a handout system that eventually kills sports programs when funding or political mileage from sports is not worth funding.


Never Ever Ending Boom! and Bust

This is the reason why sports keep going into endless boom and bust cycles since GIntong Alay went away. But ELITIST COMPETITIVE SPORTS are dying from a lack of talent because the lower levels that were present during and before Gintong Alay is just not there anymore. LGUs and regions have reduced lower-level sports programs.

There is also the loss of sports facilities and infrastructure throughout the years from urban sprawl and population growth. Another is the lack of engagement by the population in basic active recreation. Due to the lack of free spaces and recreational parks and low-level sports facilities. Add to this the reduction of PE time to one hour a week. Due to the creation of MAPEH and the poor quality of education that has necessitated the cutting of physical activity of school children.

Finally, talent cannot be spotted if it cannot be seen in play and competition. The sheer lack and inability to schedule competitions by NSAs is a major cause of the deterioration. Without the ability to plan and periodize the training of athletes just negates the essence of training and development. The ability to bring an athlete’s performance to higher levels is dependent on when to train and rebuild through the work and rest phases.
Sports management is in essence dictated by the physiological schedules whatever the level. Cycles of training affect the management of the finances of sports. A fact that our sports leaders seem to be missing out on. Talent scouting is just the preliminary step, building a process to develop them is another.

Recruiting Athletes in the Philippines

Originally posted Aug 26, 2013

Recruiting Athletes in Philippine Track and Field
Marestella Torres was a product of the Palarong Pambansa Program of the DEPED. She later went onto becoming an Asian Champion.


There are three ways I can think of which come to mind for recruiting athletes.

However, we should be applying coaching ethics and protecting against poaching which is the biggest problem limiting Philippine Sports today.


1. Our grassroots programs e.g., find at the Palarong Pambansa and other such meets

We have already covered 3 Filipinas in the Final of Vietnam is an excellent example of being grassroots programs with three athletes who came through the Palarong Pambansa system initially, maybe not being the best at that time but later developing their skills.

2014 Palarong Pambansa Athletics
2014 Palarong Pambansa Athletics

Unfortunately, grassroots on its own is not enough; we need to look at how we can retain senior athletes. Part of the equation is the depth-based development of events rather than focusing on one or two individuals.

And can do this by providing a good calendar of competitions and organizations such as the PPVC and Throwers Circle promoting events and supporting and nurturing the development of talented coaches who are working together rather competitively t benefit a larger range of athletes rather than just a few individuals as an event is likely to produce a continuity of future champions.

If all funding is pooled into one individual rather than the event

  • What happens if the individual gets old?
  • Gets injured?
  • Decides to work
  • or has other issues that prevent them from continuing.

Then we are back with 0 if we forsake continuity of the next stars in that event.

Recruiting Athletes in Philippine Track and Field

2. Persuade athletes from other sports to take up Track and Field. E.g., we have a lot of talented triathletes who could excel at 10k etc

Option 2,  We are yet to explore option 2. The idea of Option 2 dawned on me after seeing Alistair Brownlee run 29m07 for the 10k. It got me thinking about how the best Triathletes, roadrunners, duathletes, and endurance sport type athletes. In the country would fare over the 10k. I welcome any comments on this discussion point.

Recruiting Athletes in Philippine Track and Field

3. We have about 11 million Filipinos working overseas and a greater number of Filipino parentage or mixed parentage. A lot of these athletes have

Also, consider that athletes from this group cannot make it to the national team in Athletics. It might be good enough to make it on the national team in other sports.

The term Fil-Heritage has been coined as it is more appropriate for athletes of Filipino mixed parentage. Or who are living overseas, or those of Filipino origin who now moved overseas.

We are avoiding using the term Fil-am, which stereotypes the limited capacity thinking that all Filipino’s overseas live in the states. When the Filipino community overseas is a lot more global than that.

Recruiting Athletes in Philippine Track and Field

We also avoid the use of the term Fil-Foreigner. This is trying to class athletes of Filipino origin as not really part of the Philippines.

Already we have provided a good article on recruiting athletes two twin female sprinters who have already made the IAAF qualifying criteria for the World Youth Championships, and we are awaiting the response of PATAFA in regards to the documentation they need to provide us and sent a letter last week.

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