The Tokyo Olympics is fast approaching and Team Philippines, without a doubt, has its greatest chance of ending a lifetime of wait for a first gold medal in the Games.
With 19 athletes to represent the country in Japan and all of them prepared as best as they could be, the funding Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) feels that none of them has an excuse not to deliver.
Especially considering how much the government has spent to get them to the way they are performing now.
“It would be frustrating if no one delivers the gold. I believe this is the strongest and most-prepared delegation since the Philippines started sending athletes to the 1924 [Paris] Olympics,’’ said PSC chair William “Butch’’ Ramirez. “[And] our country has big expectations simply because it’s [the] people’s money.”
Documents obtained by the Inquirer revealed that the PSC, since 2016, has released a total of P4.2 billion, broken down to P404.63 million in 2016, P592.9 million in 2017, P522.2 million in 2018, P1.051 billion in 2019, P428.5 million in 2020 and P278.1 million halfway through this year, plus another P1 billion to augment the Southeast Asian Games hosting budget in 2019 to finance athletes’ training.
The amount includes foreign exposures, allowances, equipment, venue rentals, uniforms and other expenses of all 61 national sports associations under the Philippine Olympic Committee, plus the athletes and coaches under the Philippine Paralympic Committee.
“The government has been spending billions of pesos compared to the millions spent by the private sector. We want to emphasize this because our countrymen, whose taxes contribute to the national team program, have never been recognized and appreciated,’’ said Ramirez.
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, reigning world champion gymnast Caloy Yulo, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and golfer Yuka Saso are seen as the brightest gold hopes of the country.
Follow Inquirer Sports’ special coverage of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 here.
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