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Grassroots is key to success – Ramirez

While the lion’s share of the budget of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) goes to the national athletes and their training and overseas stints, chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez still believes the sporting success of a nation is anchored on reserve talent.

“The success of the elite athletes program depends largely on grassroots development,” said Ramirez yesterday, noting how the successful countries continue to maintain their lofty standing throughout the years.

And that’s the reason why Ramirez is looking forward to the agency’s much-awaited dialogue with the premier collegiate leagues like the UAAP and NCAA and 130 other groups scheduled Oct. 17 and 18 at the Ultra in Pasig.

“If we strengthen grassroots sports, we strengthen the prospects of elite sport,” said Ramirez, stressing that promising athletes in the base level need all the support of the PSC.

“If we can discover talent at an early age, we can already support them right away by funding their foreign exposure (airfare and per diem),” he said.

Only athletes under the care of NSAs are given funding by the PSC but Ramirez is willing to spread his wings in line with the government’s vision.

“The mandate is for sports to reach the countryside…that’s the directive we get from Malacañang,” said Ramirez, noting that the PSC is looking at different venues to find new talent that can fill up the national pool.

“Tagaytay has cycling, boxing is strong in Cebu, Baguio and Mindanao, archery in Dumaguete and Zamboanga in weightlifting” he added.