Juico gets nod of UAAP, NCAA athletics coaches

Athletics stakeholders, led by coaches from the UAAP and NCAA, yesterday gathered to discuss the future of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association with its leadership and gave incumbent chairman Philip Ella Juico their unanimous endorsement as the association’s next president.

The collegiate mentors, an important element in producing talents for the national team from the grassroots level, shared Juico’s vision and concurred with his program and strategies for the PATAFA, which is geared towards winning an Olympic medal in the future.

“All of us are willing to work with those who want to work with us with all sincerity and no other agenda other than to improve track and field,” Juico told the UAAP and NCAA coaches during the meeting.

Juico looms as the top choice to succeed Go Teng Kok as PATAFA chief when the athletics body holds its election on July 25. Go himself has endorsed Juico, a former Philippine Sports Commission chairman who has been helping PATAFA affairs for the last three years, for the post he’ll be relinquishing after 24 years.

In the meeting with the coaches, Juico bared a new program conceived in a May 13 planning session with athletics godfather Jim Lafferty, veteran coaches Claro Pellosis and Romeo Sotto, and members of the coaching staff.

The plan includes pursuing more corporate sponsorship so they can be able to finance a more “holistic training” for national tracksters and prioritizing certain events.

“We’re going to go heavy on corporate sponsorship and try to be less dependent on government assistance because we’d like to be as autonomous as possible. But we can only attract support from the private sector if we can offer a solid program and that’s what we’re starting to do,” said Juico.

Lafferty, who supports Olympian long jumper Maristela Torres, is the first of what they expect as a number of corporate supporters for the tracksters. He said three or four more are coming in.

“We’ll also focus on certain events, especially where there are already talents and we’ll focus on these people. However, if there are those (from other events) who come up along the way, we’ll also support them,” Juico said.

He also assured the stakeholders of a better selection process for both athletes and coaches, with clearly-defined criteria to be set and strictly observed.

At the same time, Juico promised continued support for the players in the grassroots.

“On the grassroots level, we’ll assist the stakeholders, which include the schools, universities and colleges and help them develop potential (champion) athletes,” he said.

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