|TELL-ALL | Former Palarong Bicol player confesses to cheating|
This is the statement made by Palarong Pambansa silver medalist Biboy, not his real name, in an exclusive tell-all interview with BICOL STANDARD about the alleged cheating scandal at the recently concluded Palarong Bicol 2015.
The former athlete said the Department of Education-sponsored sports fest has always been marred by cheating scandals.
"I am even amazed that some people were shocked by this," he said. "This had been going on since I was in elementary," said Biboy, who is now in his mid-thirties.
He represented the Province of Camarines Sur in the district, provincial and national Palaro during the 90's.
Biboy had always competed in swimming competitions in the district meet when he was in elementary.
He remembers notching gold medals in different swimming events such as 400 meters freestyle, 200 meters breaststroke, 200 meters butterfly and IM relay then.
But because of his tender age, he was not allowed by his parents to participate in the provincial meet.
His childhood dream then was to make a resounding splash at the Palarong Pambansa.
However, he graduated high school without achieving said dream.
A shot to fulfilling his frustrated ambition came when he was in first year high school.
He said that he was approached by his former elementary swimming coach, who asked him if he still dreams to clinch a gold at the Palarong Pambansa.
To this, Biboy said he exuberantly answered "Yes."
His teacher then offered to make him part of the elementary swim team.
He recalls telling his coach that he can no longer compete because he was already disqualified. He was already in high school and is beyond the age limit for elementary.
His coach offered a solution to Biboy's ineligibility to compete.
"He told me that I would play under the name of an elementary student, preferably a relative."
"First, I was instructed by my coach to find a relative who was still in the elementary school. When I finally did, he and I went to my auntie to borrow the birth certificate of my cousin."
"When I was finally able to secure a copy, I personally submitted my cousin's birth certificate, along with my own photo attached to it during the screening."
"All these were done with the consent of the principal," Biboy narrated.
At the games
Biboy, who was already a thirteen-year-old high school student, represented team Camarines Sur in several elementary swimming events in the Palarong Bicol. He won gold medals.
He also grabbed golds at the Palarong Bicol.
He capped his swimming performance that year with a silver medal at the Palarong Pambansa.
Biboy admitted that he knew then that what he was doing was a dishonest act. "Even a little boy engaged in child's play knows that cheating is wrong. I was already in high school, so I knew it in my heart that it was not right."
However, I was blinded by my determination to compete and win medals at the national games. I really, really wanted to win!" he said.
"At the same time, I was also confused because it was my former coach and a principal asking me to do a wrongful act. Yet, I also realized that cheating in the Palaro, which I have always heard about, was true."
"I concluded that I should not be scared because it was commonplace in the Palaro, and after all, it was done with the approval of my former principal and coach."
"In the end, my determination to win prevailed over my guilt," he expressed.
"I was excited when I competed for the provincial and regional meet. But, at the back of my mind, I was scared to be unmasked."
"Thus, as instructed, I would leave the pool area after every event to avoid being recognized.
I was able to win without any glitch.
When my time to compete at the Palarong Pambansa came, however, a player from northern Luzon, was questioned for player-switching."
"Nagkagulo!" Biboy remembered.
"This made me feel terrified, traumatized even, that I would also be caught.
I was scared that the Palaro screening committee would enforce its rules more strictly because of the discovery.
This experience caused me to give up my goggles," he said.
Call for punishment
"I am happy that this cheating scandal made headlines because it served as an eye-opener to this pervading problem. It is time to put an end to this modus," said Biboy.
He also called for sanctions against the erring individuals. He said: "The coaches, principals and Palaro officials who were involved in these dishonest acts must be punished."
Biboy volunteered to BICOL STANDARD to be interviewed after reading the news about the alleged cheating scandal.
"Natawuhan ako na bako man palan ako si totoong nanggana," he concluded. —BICOLSTANDARD.COM Pirming enot. Pirming bago.