Regino Ylanan The Father of Philippines Sport
(7 September 1889 – 1963) was a Filipino athlete, physician, sports administrator, physical educator, and sports historian. Most noteworthy was he rose to fame with three gold medals in track and field at the 1913 Far Eastern Championship Games in Manila. And he won two further medals at the 1915 Game. And also represented his country in baseball at three editions of the tournament.
He was a founder of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the Philippines in 1924. A doctor of medicine and surgeon by training. In 1930 he became the first Filipino to gain a physical education degree from the United States. At age 30 he was appointed head of physical education at the University of the Philippines. The country’s first and most prestigious university.
He later served as a national sports director. And was a long-standing secretary-treasurer for the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation. A forerunner to the national Olympic committee. He coached David Nepomuceno the countries first Olympian in 1928. And was the Filipino head of delegation for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Above all Ylanan helped develop sports in the Philippines, with a focus on Western sports such as baseball, basketball and track, and field. Also, he developed a national sports program, assisted in the building of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. In addition to writing several works on sport, including a book that was posthumously published.
Born in Bogo, Cebu, Regino Ylanan attended Cebu City high school. And played baseball for the institution as a catcher. He continued to play the sport while studying to be a doctor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.
Reaching his twenties, he enjoyed his first experience of high-level sport in 1911 when he was named in the all-Filipino national baseball team as a centerfielder. Despite his early baseball success. First of all, It was in track and field that Ylanan made his impact as an athlete.
Regino Ylanan was the first Filipino Record Holder in the Shot put (11.34m) and Discus (28.18m) from 1913 to 1915. He was the national champion in the Shot put from 1913 to 1918.
Regino Ylanan was selected to represent the Philippines at the inaugural Far Eastern Championship Games in 1913 in the athletics competition. In conclusion at the event in Manila, his throwing abilities from playing baseball translated into success in the shot put and the discus throw, events which he won with marks of 10.76 m (35 ft 3 1⁄2 in) and 28.28 m (92 ft 9 1⁄4 in), respectively.
He won a third athletics gold medal in the pentathlon, making him the top-performing athlete at the competition and a key figure in securing the athletics title for the Philippines. Still a student, he returned for the 1915 Games held in Shanghai and defended his shot put title with an improved throw of 10.91 m (35 ft 9 1⁄2 in). Although he didn’t match the success of his first appearance, he did reach the podium for the second time in the form of a pentathlon bronze medal.
The Philippines won the championship title for the second time, although it was Genaro Saavedra that led the charge this time as he took four gold medals in total. In addition, Ylanan competed one further time at the competition, playing as a catcher for the Filipino baseball team at the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games.
He focused on his studies thereafter. And graduated as a doctor of medicine from the University of the Philippines in 1918. He practiced as a surgeon at the Philippine General Hospital. But ultimately his interest lay in sports. The national bureau of education sent him to Springfield College in Massachusetts and graduated from the American school.
With a degree in physical education in 1920, his thesis being “The relation of Exercise to Growth and Development”.
This made him the first Filipino to earn the qualification.[This experience quickly accelerated my career in sports administration.
And he was appointed as the director of physical education at the University of the Philippines that same year. He acted as head of that university department for seven years.
He served as the head coach for the Filipino baseball team at the 1921 and 1923 Far Eastern Championship Games; the team won the title in both years.
Western sports were becoming increasingly popular during the period of American influence. And the American-educated Ylanan fostered the development of such sports. In 1924 he coached David Nepomuceno, a sprinter who, at the 1924 Paris Olympics, became the first-ever Filipino Olympian. Especially relevant was the fact that the country sent a two-man delegation comprising Ylanan as the sole official and Nepomuceno as the sole athlete.
While he also helped create the National Collegiate Athletic Association that year. Representing the University of the Philippines among the seven founding colleges in the national sports league. The league went on to be highly influential in the development of sport in the Philippines.
Ylanan headed the Filipino delegation for the 1925 Far Eastern Championship Games in Manila. Around this time he began publishing written works on the subject of sport.
Including an early summary of running technique and form in the Philippine Education Magazine in 1926.
In 1927 he was promoted to the position of national athletic director. And also the position of secretary-treasurer for the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation. The country’s leading sports organization. He held the latter position for 33 years. Working alongside Jorge B. Vargas, the organization’s president. His achievements during his tenure included a ten-year national plan for athletic centers to train youths.
And the building of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on the old Manila Carnival grounds. As the main stadium for the 1934 Far Eastern Championship Games. Which was the tenth and final edition of the competition?
He was the chief medic for the 1928 Olympic Philippines team. And then the head of the national delegation at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Where Miguel White won the country’s second-ever and last Olympic athletics medal in the hurdles.
Regional sports competition declined shortly afterward gave the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. He remained an authority on sports in the country. In capacities as an administrator, writer, and medic. He documented the continued rise of basketball in the Philippines in the 1940s. As well as the development of baseball in the country on which he remarked that it
“seemed to fill a long-felt want with the Filipino.
He worked on a book, The History, and Development of Physical Education and Sports in the Philippines. But died of a heart attack in late 1963 at the age of 74 before he could complete it. However, His wife Carmen Wilson Ylanan finished the work and it was published in 1965. Which a second edition with further additions by her following in 1974.
Regino Ylanan was given several awards posthumously. Besides honors from the Philippine Sports Writers Association and a YMCA Triangle Award In 1999. He was awarded the title of “Sports Leader of the Millennium” by the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017.
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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