THE embarrassment suffered by two Filipino divers in the 28th Southeast Asian Games is merely a reflection of the sad state of the sport owing to the lack of support and a clear-cut program, the head of the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (Pasa) said on Thursday.
Pasa head Mark Joseph said he wasn't surprised by the poor showing of Elmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo in Singapore, which saw the two Pinoy divers come under a hail of criticism and ridicule after completely muffing their dives for zero scores in the 3m springboard.
The two divers are not only new, but they also received little in terms of support, Joseph admitted.
“They’re new, they’re young they’re fist-timers at this level, so don’t expect fireworks. Alam mo naman yung divers natin, we only have one training center,” said Joseph, who admitted not seeing viral videos of the two's performances as he only arrived in Singapore on Thursday afternoon after having to rush to his dying cousin in Penang, Malaysia.
“But with their performances, I am not surprised, I am not surprised. The amount of money that is spent in our sports is nothing compared to our kalaban. It’s that simple,” he said in a high tone.
Asked why the two Filipino divers failed to come up with respectable routines in the 3m springboard competition, Joseph said the Singapore letdown can serve as a wake-up call for sports stakeholders.
“We always like it to be better, but maybe it should teach a lesson to everybody that if you don’t invest … don’t expect,” he said. “It takes years and years to make a champion.”
“The reality is we are really left behind. Look at the Rizal Memorial (Sports Complex) compared to what you see here (in Singapore),” he added.
WATCH video of interview with Mark Joseph:
And why did we bother to participate in the first place, he was asked.
“Because if you don’t compete, you’ll never know (how far behind you are). The point is to participate, whether you win or lose. You fight. What are we gonna do, not show up? Bakya naman 'yun, coward 'yun,” said the outspoken sports official.
Joseph also called for more support to sports.
“The people who have the money, have to invest, not consider it as an expense. You can’t start, stop, start, stop. There has to be a program. There has to be a continuous program,” he said.
“Without the money, there’s no program.”
The long-serving swimming official also revealed the rift between China and the Philippines also affected the training of the Filipino divers, who are handled by coaches from the world diving power.
“China got to be an enemy and an expensive one,” Joseph said, pointing out that the Filipino diver's long training in China before the the 2005 SEA Games in Manila led to five diving golds highlighted by Sheila Mae Perez’s record three-gold haul.
“The Chinese became a very expensive (enemy),” he said, revealing that before Chinese coaches would only charge US$1,800 a month before, compared to the current rate of $12,500.
Joseph was also asked about the responsibility he is willing to accept in this embarrassing campaign, but he only shook his head.
“Why should anybody be to be blamed. It’s not about blaming. It’s my fault already. Command responsibility. It’s my fault. Blame me Does it help. Does it gonna make us win, will it make us improve in the future?” he said.
Yey! I'm so proud of us pakner John Fabriga, we really did our best despite of we just practiced this synchro dives for just 4 days, even though we failed to win, but atleast we did overcame what we once knew was out limit, and that makes us a champion Posted by JD Pahoyo on Tuesday, June 9, 2015