Decades, Philippine performance in international meets have been tested to the hilt and to develop future budding talents in track and field, a sustainable sports program should be taken seriously with emphasis on grassroots development.
The year-round sports program of the Philippine Amateur Athletics Association (PATAFA) coupled with proper identification of athletes, scientific training, sound sports management and honest-to-goodness funding boosted the association campaign.
Based on PATAFA's Year-End Report, the year 2016 proved to be a boon for the association. It signaled the roll-out of audacious plans lofty yet programs, and forging of momentous partnerships with eminent advocates.
PATAFA made headway for the Philippines in Asian Athletics Association (AAA) and International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). The association being the local governing body in athletics supported the entire federation by shifting its approach to make its on-ground activities and projects more dynamic and salient.
Starting them young, the Kids Athletics is one of the cornerstone programs of the PATAFA under the auspices of the IAAF.
For the year 2016, PATAFA implemented the Kids Athletics Program in three locations -- Gen. Santos, Kidapawan, and Philsports in Pasig.
For the year 2017, PATAFA is gearing to work closely with the Department of Education (DepEd) in integrating the program with the K-12 curriculum. Likewise, the federation looks forward to surpass the 2015 benchmark of 12 areas by the program.
PATAFA WEEKLY RELAYS
As one of the institutional programs of the PATAFA, the Weekly Relay has become a hotbed of talent development for the federation. Each year, from June to November, aspiring and developmental athletes converge and compete at the Philsports track and field oval to hone their athletic skills and talents. The year 2016 saw the Weekly Relays have a pilot spin-off in Ilagan, Isabela. This served as its Luzon Leg.
This 2017, the federation will undertake the kick-start of the Visayas leg in Bacolod or Cebu and the Mindanao leg in Koronadal to complete the three-region satellite implementation of the program.
Top three winners in every event in each leg gain slots in the November finals to be held in Philsports.
PATAFA ATHLETICS ACADEMY
PATAFA and its athletics program stand to benefit extensively as the number of qualified local coaches increases in number. Likewise, conducting the accreditation program alongside an athletics clinic to be attended by the community will enhance popularization and adoption of athletics as a sport on the ground level.
Grounded in this direction, the PATAFA launched in 2016 its athletics education arm, the PATAFA Athletics Academy (PAA).
Topped the athletics academy component are Athletics Coaching Enhancement Seminar -- aimed to advance the technical competency and practical knowledge of Physical Education (PE) teachers and local coaches handling young and developmental athletes for athletics.
Another component of PAA is the Street Athletics project. The project may be held in any open area preferably in a park or similar venue.
The program answers to the growing demand to bring athletics to most number of possible adopters of the sport and brings the sport out of the usual confines of standard athletics stadium.
TALENT IDENTIFICATION AND SCOUTING
To bring back the glory days of athletics, PATAFA undertook a massive talent scout across the country for possible inclusion in both the national team and national training pool.
It hopes to duplicate or equal the names sprinter Lydia de Vega, long jumper specialist's Elma Muros, Steeplechase and Olympian Hector Begeo.
Who could forget the athletic prowess of Olympian Lydia de Vega, from Bulacan, whose sprinting prowess captured the eye and admiration of millions of Filipinos and once Asia's sprint queen. The Bulacan lass who was discovered in a school-based "Palaro" brought honor to our Flag and country.
Muros, known as the "Iron Lady" of the region's Southeast Asian Games; Olympian Hector Begeo (steeplechase) of the Cordilleras, barefoot when he started his journey in athletics.
Source: Philippines News Agency