Butch Ramirez

FILE – PSC chairman Butch Ramirez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair William Ramirez is batting for more funding to rejuvenate the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI), a bold ambitious program meant to develop elite athletes that was stalled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Developing an athlete to achieve his potential takes at least four years in a short-term strategy and a minimum of 12 years in a long-term program,’’ said Ramirez.

The country has witnessed this sort of progress in weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who went through three Olympic cycles to finally bag a silver medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and eventually the Olympic gold last year in Tokyo.

Making the PSI fully operational would keep the country abreast with the latest in sports medicine, science and technology for the benefit of the athletes and coaches and even accelerate their improvement through high-performance training in a shorter span.

“The PSI needs adequate funding to pursue its goals of updating the country’s know-how in sports medicine and technology, among others, and keep us abreast with the rest of the world,’’ said Ramirez.

PSI national training director Marc Edward Velasco told the Inquirer that the equipment and machines needed for the sports institute at the Philsports Complex in Pasig City were already purchased by the PSC and the groundwork has been laid out.

The global pandemic that began early 2020, however, halted the PSI’s operations for two years and prompted Velasco to reboot the entire program.

Ramirez first brought the PSI to light during his first term as PSC chair in 2008, but was cut short a year later after he stepped down from his post. It was revived in 2016 when Ramirez began his second term.

Flourishing countries in sports have their own sports institute where they study, educate and train, among others, their athletes and coaches in preparation for the biggest stage in sports such as the Olympics and world championships.

Ramirez has patterned the PSI to the successful program of the Australian Institute of Sport, which leads and enables a united and collaborative high-performance sport system that supports Australian athletes to achieve international podium success.

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