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    Hope for institutionalized grassroots program as Philippine Sports Institute set for launch

    Jan 4, 2017
    PSI national training director Marc Velasco and PSC commissioner Charles Maxey during the briefing on Wednesday. Jerome Ascano

    THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has high hopes that the Philippine Sports Institute can produce world-class athletes and coaches by 2024 as the government sports agency embarks on a long-term grassroots program.

    National training director Marc Velasco said the PSI program is set to begin in the first quarter of 2017, beginning with the process of talent identification and training of potentials and coaches.

    Since the program targets kids, Velasco sees the products of the PSI are projected to be competitive at a world-class level at least by 2024.

    “It will be a big boost to get results [early] but if you are a smart person, you don’t bank on short term, you hedge on long term,” said Velasco in a press briefing related to the PSI on Wednesday.

    “Eight years. Two Olympic cycles,” he added when asked how long he expects the program to produce talents for the national team.

    The PSC sees the PSI as the answer to the absence of a true grassroots program in the Philippines, being one of the few countries who doesn't have a continuous sports institute.

    The PSI was first launched under the term of PSC chairman Philip Ella Juico from 1996 to 1998, and then again by Ramirez during his first term from 2005 to 2009. But it was later shelved after another change in the PSC leadership.

    Following its revival, the PSI will present its programs in detail in an inauguration set January 16 at the PhilSports Arena where President Duterte has been invited as guest of honor.

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    Athletes and coaches from different national sports associations have also been invited to attend the event.

    “The athletes and coaches will have a better idea what PSI is going to offer them and what PSI will bring to the table. It will show how the PSI will be the main driving force of the PSC in terms of grassroots and elite athletes,” said Velasco.

    Under the PSI’s Grassroots Sports Development Program (GSDP), the talent identification program comes in four stages — training of researchers to identify talent, testing, talent selection, and inclusion of talent to the training program called Smart Kids.

    Elite athletes also stand to benefit from the PSI, according to the PSC, as coaches will also be trained through scientific programs.

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    PSI national training director Marc Velasco and PSC commissioner Charles Maxey during the briefing on Wednesday. Jerome Ascano
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