PROPER NUTRITION. President Ferdinand R. Marcos discusses with Philippine Sports Commission chairperson Noli Eala the importance of proper nutrition for the national athletes during their meeting at Malacañang Palace on Oct. 14, 2022. Eala promised to focus on the athletes’ nutrition as they prepare for big international sports events, including the 2024 Paris Olympics. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Among the immediate priorities of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) under chairperson Noli Eala is to boost and enhance the nutrition program for the national athletes.

No less than President Ferdinand R. Marcos cited the importance of proper nutrition, which helps guarantee a sound mind and sound body for the athletes, when Eala met the President in Malacañang Palace Oct. 14.

Eala, in his second month at the helm of Philippine sports, received the instruction from the President during the courtesy call in Malacanang of Olympian and world No. 3 pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena.

“Nagkaroon po tayo ng panahong makipag-usap sa ating Pangulo at napakasimple ng mga sinabi niya sa atin – alagaan ang mga atleta. Sabi niya dapat ayusin ang nutrition ng ating mga atleta (We’ve got a chance to talk to the President and he has simple directive – take care of the athletes’ nutrition),” Eala said in a news release on Tuesday.

“And I think that’s a policy direction na tamang-tama sa mga plano ng PSC, so atin po itong tututukan (in line with the PSC’s plan, so we will focus on this),” he added.

Proper nutrition is vital for the national athletes, especially the elite ones who are vying in major international competitions like the SEA Games, Asian Games, World Championships, and the Olympics.

Through the years, the PSC has supported the athletes, including in providing the proper food and vitamins based on the needs of a particular athlete in a particular sport.

But Eala felt that President Marcos wants the PSC to do an even better job on this aspect as the country continues to seek glory in the field of sports, particularly in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“That’s what we will do,” Eala said.

In 2021, the PSC, through the Sports Nutrition Unit (SNU), started providing nutritional meals for the athletes during their bubble training at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and PhilSports Complex.

At present, the PSC provides meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as morning and afternoon snacks to different national teams.

PSC nutritionists also provide and design specific meal plans for the athletes to ensure that they get optimal nutrition for their training and help them become competition-ready. They continue to offer daily online consultation and lectures for national athletes and coaches, from their meal plan to other nutritional queries for their training.

The PSC also promotes nutritional awareness among the athletes through their social media postings of pre-competition nutrition, easy-to-make snacks and what it has branded as the “Secret Menu to Success.”

In 2019 alone, 34,278 meals were served at the renovated nutrition halls at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Philsports Complex in Pasig to athletes and coaches in the national pool. (PNA)