The Olympics are almost upon us.
In 1924, the Philippines was the first Southeast Asian nation to compete and win a medal at the Summer Olympic Games.
Rio 2016 will be the 22nd Summer Olympic games the Philippines will participate in (we boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow) and we are still waiting for our first Gold Medal!
Could this be our year?
Recently, there has been criticism of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PAFTA) as they recruited Filipino-American athletes to represent the Philippines at the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. The result was 4 Gold Medals from 2 Fil-Am athletes. The issue arises from the perceived lack of faith in homegrown talent.
What we should focus on is not the lack of faith, but the addition of talent, the success of the Philippines and athletes deciding to represent a nation they have blood-ties to and culture rooted to their parents and grandparents’ heritage. The performance and victory serves as an inspiration to all young athletes and young people in general that those with a love for their heritage can bring joy and success to their people.
Sporting success thrives on hopes and dreams. Without the right kind of dedication and investment, those dreams do not come true. Talent only gets you so far in life and for athletes, they rely on investment and facilities for them to train and improve. For athletes from countries with very highly developed sports programs and facilities, competition is fierce. An advantage of being dual nationality is that you have the option of choosing whom to represent and if it means qualifying for a team at a major tournament, you would take that opportunity.
As PAFTA President, Philip Ella Juico, was quoted as saying “We have 10 million Filipinos around the world. We are sharing our human resources with the international community. When they are there, they inter-marry with locals and beget Filipino children who are half Filipino, half foreign. If we can use half foreign Filipinos for scientists, teachers, or engineers, why not use them for sports? Pilipino ‘yan eh,”
One profession missed out by Juico, was ‘Artista’ Turn on the TV in the Philippines, look up at the billboards and look at the models, in the shallow world of celebrity and looks, this is an area where mixed Filipino heritage is celebrated.
Hope surrounds the Philippines and its people!
For all young Filipinos all over the world with sporting ambitions, the message is clear, Second or Third generation Filipinos are still Filipinos! The Philippines is a country still on the rise, we are crying out for something to celebrate, the Philippines needs you!
If you are an athlete or competitor of Filipino Heritage, we’d love to speak to you about your story, your aspirations and your connection to the Philippines. Maraming Salamat!
By Adrian Williams