Press Release
September 2, 2023

Amid Gilas Pilipinas' FIBA World Cup struggles, Bong Go remains optimistic and calls for support for athletes participating in other international competitions

Amid challenges faced by the country in the FIBA World Cup, Senator Christopher "Bong Go," chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, is redirecting his focus towards a diversified approach to sports development. During an interview with DZRH's "Balansyado" on August 29, he outlined his support for grassroots initiatives in various sporting disciplines, all aimed at preparing the country for the 2024 Paris Olympics and other future competitions.

While acknowledging the setback in the FIBA World Cup, Go remains optimistic about the country's athletic future. He encourages Filipinos to maintain a positive outlook and rally behind their athletes.

"Hindi lang naman po sa basketball ang talento ng Pilipino," he noted, acknowledging the country's recent successes in other sports like boxing and athletics.

He stressed the need for comprehensive support from both the government and the private sector to nurture these talents.

This multi-sport focus is not just about immediate gains. It is part of a long-term strategy aimed at future Olympic glory.

"Looking forward tayo sa 2024 Olympics na manalo po tayo hindi lang po sa basketball, sa boxing, at iba pang athletics," Go stated.

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena is the first Filipino to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. He achieved this milestone by clearing the Olympic standard of 5.82 meters at the Bauhaus Galan event in Stockholm, Sweden.

Previously, Go extended his heartfelt congratulations to weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz for her historic achievement in the Women's 55kg weightlifting category at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Diaz's victory marked the Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medal.

"Sila ay tunay ngang inspirasyon sa bawat Pilipino na sa kabila ng kahit anong bigat ng kanilang pinapasan sa buhay kapag nagpakita ng determinasyon at pusong manalo ay makakamtan nito sa ating inaasam na tagumpay," said Go.

Meanwhile, central to the country's grassroots sports development is the National Academy of Sports (NAS), a fully operational institution located in New Clark City. Former president Rodrigo Duterte signed in June 2020, Republic Act No. 11470, which provides for the establishment of the NAS System and its main campus.

Go was the author and co-sponsor of the measure in the Senate.

"Mayroon na ho tayong naisulong na batas, ako po ang co-sponsor at co-author nito," he said.

Designed to allow students to balance academics and sports training, NAS could be a game-changer for nurturing future Olympic hopefuls. The academy aims to utilize the state-of-the-art facilities at New Clark City, serving as a hub for aspiring athletes from across the country.

"Naisipan natin ito noon dahil nakita natin na marami pong mga estudyante na gustong makapag-training, minsan nasasakripisyo talaga," he said.

Beyond NAS, Go is also advocating for the institutionalization of the Philippine National Games (PNG) to be held every two years.

"Diyan po natin madidiskubre sa grassroots level ang mga atletang magagaling," he said.

This initiative aims to unearth talent from all corners of the country, providing them with the resources and opportunities they need to excel.

On the topic of accessibility, Go confirmed that NAS is open to students from all regions and is free of charge.

"Opo, libre po ito dahil scholarship po ito," he affirmed, adding that the academy is overseen by an executive director and offers scholarships to deserving students.

Through initiatives to strengthen NAS and PNG, Go seeks to lay the groundwork for a new era in Philippine athletics--one that aims to produce champions on both the national and international stages.

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