Sports should not be mixed with politics
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
REPORTS cropped up weeks ago that United States will not send diplomatic or official representation to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in February due to the ongoing “genocide” as described by U.S. and other human rights abuses especially the Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
Australia followed U.S. drastic action and also cited human rights violations in Xinjiang and Beijing’s freeze on ministerial contact with Australia. As I expected, United Kingdom (U.K.) pursued U.S. position, expressing the same reasons. (Remember, history says the mother land of U.S and Australia is U.K.). Latest news says New Zealand and Lithuania might follow later.
Unlike the Summer Olympic Games that already suffered from six boycotts for many mixed reasons from disapproval of wars, to invasions, apartheid, doping scandals, geopolitical drama, to name some. I believe this will be the first time that the Winter Games will be boycotted by big nations like perennial overall champions U.S., Australia, U.K., so far.
Yes, the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, Russia was the fourth host of the quadrennial meet that was boycotted after Melbourne, Australia in 1956, Tokyo, Japan in 1964, and Montreal, Canada in 1976. It was shunned by 65 countries spearheaded by U.S., Japan, China, South Korea, Spain, Canada, Iran, Israel, Germany, Chile, Uruguay, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and even our state the Philippines, to protest the invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 by the Soviets.
Four years later Soviet Union responded in 1984 when Los Angeles, California, hosted the every-four-year global meet and towed most Eastern Bloc 13 nations led by East Germany. I called that move “tit-for-tat.” Despite the boycott, 140 countries participated, a record during that time. AS the host, U.S. topped the medal count winning 83 gold overall.
The last country that also encountered the same predicament as a host was South Korea in 1988. Four countries rejected to participate. Angered over not being to co-host the Games, North Korea was able to convince co-communist state Cuba with close friends Ethiopia and Nicaragua to join the fray. Nonetheless, the Seoul Olympics broke the L.A. Olympics record with 159 countries participating. And from there on, although still encountering conflicts in geopolitics, the beautiful quadrennial meet no longer encountered boycotts.
Yes, it’s unfortunate and perhaps inevitable, that, the world’s most exhilarating and exciting quadrennial meet “Olympic Games” is saddled with politics.
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The most awaited short but star-studded cycling race dubbed as “Lingayen Gulf Landing Jess Garcia, Jr. Birthday Bikefest” held last Sunday (December 19) was successful. My unceasing gratitude to God, again. Unlike the previous two years, the bikefest under the auspices of Mayor Leopoldo N. Bataoil was flagged off this time by our two hard-working lawmakers Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Tito Sotto held at Marcela’s Resort in Baywalk area of the scenic Lingayen Gulf with thousands of cycling and political enthusiasts fervently watched the commencements The 63-kilometer bikefest was done in three categories that traversed some parts of the towns of Bugallon and Labrador and ended at barangay Baay, Lingayen with another new thousands of spectators watched the race especially the finishing kicks of the first group riders.
Here are the top five winners each category that received cash prizes and medal each category. OPEN: 1. Resty Aragon (NCR), 2. George Oconner (NCR) 3. Daniel Cariño (Mangaldan) 4. Sherwin Carrera (San Fabian) 5. Joshua Pascua (Mangaldan) MASTER: (40-49 years old) 1. Resty Aragon (NCR) 2. Ericson Obosa (Manaoag) 3. Brix Catambay (Mangaldan) 4. Romel Narvas (San Fabian) 5. Ricky Zabala (Bautista) GRANDMASTER: (50 years old and above) 1. Ysmael Gendrano (NCR) 2. Hector Padilla (Urdaneta City) 3. Ariel Fernando (NCR) 4. Judy Etrata (Binalonan) 5. Alejandro Daoatin (Urbiztondo).
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. PSALMS 32: 12
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