MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte pledged P100 million on Monday, December 23, to support the foreign exposure of Tokyo 2020 Olympics-bound athletes.
According to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, this will be included in the government sports agency’s Olympic budget.
“This will greatly help our national athletes who are both qualified and [have] potential Olympic entry,” Ramirez told Rappler.
“P100 million is more than enough for their needs like, foreign trips like hotel accomodation, transportation, coaches’ salaries, gym rentals, core team of each Olympic-bound athletes like their psychologist, physiologist, nutritionist, masseurs, sports medicines, sports manager, and head and assistant coaches.”
From the Philippine contingent, only pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo have secured slots to the quadrennial multisport event.
Last September, Obiena cleared 5.81 meters in the 30th Summer Universiade in Chiari, Italy, that surpassed the Olympic cut of 5.80m and reset his own Philippine record for the third time this year.
Yulo nailed his Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth in the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany when he placed 18th out of 160 athletes in the world to advance to the men’s individual all-around final.
The 19-year-old gymnast also bagged the country’s first world gymnastics gold in the men’s floor exercise which will boost his bid to winning the Philippines’ first Olympic gold.
2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz continues to vie for a return to the quadrennial meet with two more Olympic qualifying tournaments – the Roma 2020 World Cup in January and the 2020 Senior Weightlifting Championships in Kazakhstan in April.
The Philippines’ top skateboarder Margielyn Didal is in the running for an Olympic berth as she currently ranks No. 14 in the world.
Filipino-Japanese martial artists Kiyomi Watanabe of judo and karateka Junna Tsukii also have garnered support in their road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. – Rappler.com