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Sports institute set

All is set for the launch of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) on Oct. 1, the umbrella organization of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) put up to check the slide of Filipino athletes in international competitions.

PSC chairman Butch Ramirez revealed yesterday that the PSI will operate on a budget of P25 million a month, an amount that will cover the operations of about 18 regional centers nationwide.

Some of the sites that will host regional training and recruitment centers include Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, Baguio, Zamboanga, Siargao and Ilocos with each center specializing on one or two top sports endemic to the area.

Each city will be manned by a regional director who will be tapped from the province and who will be accountable to national training director Marc Velasco, credited for producing a few Olympic medalists, from Hong Kong.

Velasco, who is a strength coach, helped Lee Wai Sze (women’s cycling) take the bronze in the 2012 London Olympics.

Velasco, also a native of Davao City like Ramirez, worked as a fitness coach at the Hong Kong Sports Institute before being persuaded to come over and lend a hand to the Philippines’ cause.

Ramirez is confident that the emergence of the PSI will help in recruiting talent from the countryside that had long been ignored.

“The people that will lead the regional training centers will go to the lowest level to identify talent,” said Ramirez, hinting that grassroots development haven’t really been exhausted.