PHILLIPPINE Olympic Committee head Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco has once again revived his plan to build a training center, but this time on a much smaller scale in Baguio City, in the wake of the country's failed campaign in the London Olympic Games.
Cojuangco said the initial plan is to house about 50 athletes at Teachers Village and the Philippine Military Academy so they can focus on their preparations for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The POC had earlier hoped to build a training base for national athletes inside the Clark Freeport Zone, but the grand plan was shelved due to lack of funds.
“We can start the training center in a small way until we can find funds,” said Cojuangco on Thursday in his first interview since the London Olympics aired on the POC’s radio program on DZSR.
Cojuangco also bared plans to tap a sports science specialist who can supervise the athletes while in Baguio.
“The important thing is to find a person to supervise this stage. Kung hindi tayo makakuha ng expert, useless din,” Cojuangco said.
“I’ve been preaching for a long time that we need a training center. The only way that you can monitor the athletes is through a training center that is now being done all over the world,” Cojuangco said.
The absence of the training center, Cojuangco said, is one of the reasons why the Philippines went home without any medal from the Olympics for the fourth consecutive time.
He also defended the Philippine Sports Commission, which he said is just starting out with the programs laid down by chairman Ricardo Garcia after his appointment in 2010. Among the programs are the Batang Pinoy and the Philippine National Games.
Cojuangco shrugged off criticism that politics is to blame for the Olympic fiasco, insisting that the biggest problem of Philippine sports is lack of funding.
“I don’t think politics in sports is the reason that created this problem. Marami na tayong mga proposal na hindi natutupad na kailangang gawin. What we need is enough funds for the programs,” Cojuangco said.