By Gab Ferreras, contributing writer
For the past three weeks, while the country is experiencing the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Filipinos tuned in to cheer and support the 19 Pinoy Olympians compete in the pandemic-delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to August 8.
And after the momentus sporting activities, 4 out of 19 emerged as the medal victors. Ironically, apart from being soldier athletes representing Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, all 4 of them were born and raised in the Mindanao region.
Hidilyn Diaz of Weightlifting (Zamboanga) led the country's medal haul, clinching the first gold medal in a non-exhibition sport in Olympic history, together with Boxing's Nesthy Petecio (Davao Del Sur) and Carlo Paalam (Cagayan de Oro) whom both got the silver medals and Eumir Marcial (Zamboanga) notched the bronze medal.
And one of those who supported the Pinoy Olympians' journey to medal success is a fellow Mindanaoan from Davao City, PSC Commissioner Charles Maxey who was one of the guests of the TOPS Usapang Sports on Air Forum last Thursday.
Maxey believes that Pinoy athletes' performance in the Tokyo Olympics is a result of cooperation between the government, private sector and the sports stakeholders. He also explained the role of the government sports agency in helping the athletes.
"The performance of the athletes is a collaboaration and cooperation, hindi lang ng gobyerno, kundi ng mga stakeholders involved like the Philippine Olympic Committee at sa mga NSAs mismo and others (including private sector) kasi government cannot do it alone and in fact, ang masasabi ko lang sa tagumpay natin sa Tokyo, para bang sabi ko na wala namang ginawang special ang PSC, we just did our job to facilitiate the needs of these athletes sa kanilang mga pangailangan, hindi kami perfect, meron din kaming pagkukulang but we tried our best to give them or provide them with the assistance. Wala talagang ginawang special. In fact, Chairman Butch was always telling us na talagang kollaborasyon ito, hindi naman ito atin lang.", Maxey said.
When asked on the suggestion that PSC and other sports stakeholders should solely focus on individual sports to gain medal momentum in international competition, Maxey gives his opinion.
"Alam naman natin doon din talagang tayo magaling, doon tayo nageexcel if you look at the total medals natin since we start campaigning in the Olympics in 1924. Talagang nandoon sa individual lahat. Swimming, boxing, ngayong weightlifting. Maganda yung suggestion na yan. We concentrate on individual athletes kasi kung tutuusin at saka iisipin mo rin, hindi namang kailangan ng malaking budget for that kung individual, but of course, hindi naman natin sinasabing pabayaan natin ang mga team sports kasi meron naman tayong ding atleta at NSAs at merong silang sarili-sariling mga competitions here and abroad na dapat din nating pagbigyan ng pansin. Tama yan. Concentrate tayo doon sa individual at Olympic sports. Kasi alam naman natin ang Olympics, ay ang grandest stage and biggest and greatest sporting show in the world.", Maxey ended.