THE Federation of School Sports Associations of the Philippines (FESSAP) will continue to reach out and establish good working relationship with both the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
FESSAP executive vice president Dr. Robert Milton Calo said he is confident the PSC, headed by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, and POC, led by president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, would be willing to work with the FESSAP in helping promote sports through its grassroots development program.
“FESSAP has already shown what we can do in building world-class student-athletes through active participation in both the Summer and Winter Universiade of FISU (Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire),” said Calo during the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom yesterday.
“The Universiade is the equivalent of the Olympic Games. The student-athletes who excelled in the Universiade went on the become world-class athletes competing in the Olympics,” explained Calo during the weekly public service program sponsored by the PSC, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“Since 2011, FESSAP has already produced two gold medals through GM Wesley So in chess during the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, Russia and EJ Obiena in pole vault in the 2019 Universiade in Napoli, Italy. We also brought home a silver medal through taekwondo star Samuel Morrison of FEU during the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, China,” recalled Calo.
Calo, also the chairman of the FESSAP Membership Committee, said they have already talked to both Ramirez and PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez about FESSAP’s plans.
FESSAP is also hoping to sit down with Tolentino and the POC Board soon.
“FESSAP is very thankful to the PSC, Chairman Ramirez and Comm. Fernandez, for their all-out support to Obiena’s campaign in the Napoli Universiade where he captured the coveted gold medal.”
Calo claimed Obiena’s stint in the Napoli Universiade is a good training ground for the Tokyo Olympics where he already qualified.
“Sabi nga, magandang training yun Universiade para kay Obiena. Nandun lahat yun mga magagaling na batang atleta sa Europe.”
Calo, however, admitted So did not receive the same privilege even after he made the country proud with the gold medal in chess in the 2013 Kazan Universiade.
“Wesley (So) made all of us proud during the Kazan Universiade, winning the country’s first-ever gold medal in the Universiade. FESSAP, then headed by David Ong and Alvin Tai Lian, was very proud of his achievements,” explained Calo, who was one of few local officials present when So received the coveted gold while the national flag was being raised on stage.
“I understand that’s one of the reasons why Wesley decided to transfer to the United States. Sana wag na maulit sa ibang atleta.“
The 73-year-old sports official from Butuan City said FESSAP is still waiting for the final word from the organizers of both the 2021 Summer Universiade scheduled in Chengdu, China on Aug. 8-19 and the Winter Universiade set in Lucerne, Switzerland on Dec. 11-21
“We’re still waiting for the final decision of FISU. Gaya ng Tokyo Olympics, hindi pa natin alam kung matutuloy or hindi dahil nga dito sa pandemic, na nakakaapekto sa ating lahat,” Calo told editors and reporters of TOPS.
“But FESSAP will be ready to send athletes in select sports, such as athletics, chess, golf, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and wushu in the Chengdu Universiade.”
“In the Winter Universiade, Misha Fabian is our representative in figure skating. She already represented us during the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.”
Calo also took the time to extend his invitation to various colleges and universities to affiliate with FESSAP and give their student-atheletes the opportunity to represent the country in the Universiade.
“As I’ve said, the Universiade is second only to the Olympics in terms of participation. It is a combination of the words University and Olympiad. That’s why it is also known as the World University Games. This is a good opportunity for our student-athletes to compete,” added Calo, also the organizer of the Milo Little Olympics.
Joining Calo in the weekly session shown on Facebook and YouTube are Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) president Chito Loyzaga, 2019 Winter Universiade representative Misha Fabian and figure skating coach Ronan Capili.