Eleazar pledges support to sports dev’t for PH to produce world-class athletes, avoid losing talents

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MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial candidate Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar highlighted the importance of developing the country’s sports programs to produce more world-class Filipino athletes and avoid losing talents due to lack of support from the government.

Eleazar was invited as a speaker at the opening ceremony of the Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Meet on Monday (April 25) where he addressed participating student-athletes from the region’s five provinces and four cities

“Itong sports o palakasan ay simbolo ng disiplina, sipag, tyaga pati na rin karangalan. Kaya sa presensya ng ating mga kabataan, ng ating mga atleta ay talagang ako’y sumasaludo sa inyo dahil sa kabila ng pandemya ay nandito kayo ngayon para buhayin ang sports development,” he said.

Eleazar recalled that when he entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1983, part of the training of the cadets was centered on sports development.

This proved to be a pivotal moment in the life of a young Eleazar since it was through joining the different intramurals as a cadet that he developed his competitiveness, camaraderie, honor, unity, patriotism, and sense of pride.

Now running as a senator, Eleazar said he wanted to ensure the operationalization of the National Academy of Sports (NAS) which was established in June 2020 in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

“Kung talagang bibigyan ng pansin, bibigyan ng resources itong mga sports organizations, madedevelop ng sinumang kabataan ang kanilang kakayahan para sa anumang laro,” he noted.

In 2021, the NAS already started searching for Filipino student-athletes who can avail of their scholarship program through the NAS Annual Search for Competent, Exceptional, Notable, and Talented Student-Athlete (NASCENT SAS).

The NASCENT SAS is a scholarship program for qualified student-athletes who are engaged in aquatics, athletics, badminton, gymnastics, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, and weightlifting.

Eleazar said that if the government’s lack of support to Filipino athletes continues, the Philippines might start losing more of its brightest sports stars in the future.

He cited the cases of chess grandmaster Wesley So who now represents the United States, golfer Yuka Saso who is now in Japan; and pool player Alex Pagulayan who switched nationality to Canada.

Aside from that, Eleazar mentioned the struggles of prized pole vaulter EJ Obiena who is now being courted by various countries.

“Marami sa ating mga magagaling na atleta ay napilitang irepresenta ang ibang bansa dahil sa kakulangan ng suporta mula sa pamahalaan. Kung magpapatuloy ang kakulangan ng suporta ng gobyerno sa ating mga atleta, hindi malayong marami pang mga talentadong atleta ang mawala sa atin,” he said.

The Partido Reporma candidate said he will ensure that the sports development in the Philippines, particularly the operation of the National Academy of Sports, will be given a sufficient budget so that many Filipino student-athletes will reach their full potential.

“Madaling sabihin ito pero ang kailangan dito ay pondo, hindi lang galing sa LGUs kundi sa national government natin. Kung bibigyan ng pagpapala ng Panginoon Diyos at tiwala ng ating mga kakababayan, ako po ay magsusulong ng laban ng bawat atleta upang lalo pang lumakas ang sports development para sa ating mga kabataan,” Eleazar said.

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