Gintong Alay sports program will return with a twist — Eala


THE GINTONG Alay, a successful “Godfather” sports program almost half a century ago, will make a return but with a twist.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair Noli Eala, in fact, already has an idea on how it will be called.

“In my mind, it’s the ‘Gintong Laban ng Athletang Dakila (Great Athletes’ Fight for Gold),’ and I’m just waiting for the board to become complete so I can get an input from them,” said Mr. Eala during yesterday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Foum at the agency’s Malate, Manila office.

Gintong Alay, instituted under the administration of President Marcos’ father Ferdinand, Sr., in the late 70s and 80s with now Laoag City Mayor Michael Keon as its first project director, produced so many great athletes including former Asia’s sprint queen and fastest Lydia de Vega-Mercado.

While the Gintong Alay was done by appointing a man from the private sector to godfather of certain sports, Mr. Eala explained his version will pool together the funds they would get from the private sector to help fund the whole national team.

“There were less sports back then so the godfather system was applicable back then. My idea right now is to seek support of the private sector, raise funds to support our sports program,” said the former PBA commissioner and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director.

“It may not be necessarily per sport because we have so many sports right now so we will pool it together and channel it towards specific programs that could be related to infrastructure, our athletes’ enhancement of training and of course auxillary services and create a winning formula,” he added.

Mr. Eala, however, stressed they will retain the same blue print that produced the likes of the country’s first Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting and two-time world champion Caloy Yulo of gymnastics but with private backing on the side.

“Hidilyn Diaz, Caloy Yulo showed the blue print of success to my mind but we will harness it with private sector support so we can produce more Hidilyn Diaz and Caloy Yulo,” he said. — Joey Villar