OLYMPIC silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz is among those being counted upon as potential gold medalists for the Philippine campaign in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
On the broad shoulders of the 26-year-old silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games rest the Filipinos’ bid to surpass their single gold performance during the last edition of the meet four years ago in Incheon, Korea.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez mentioned Diaz and other potential medalists during a press conference three days before the 18th staging of the quadrennial showpiece kicks off in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang.
“You look at history and records, Hidilyn of course, is the strongest (medal bet). You have there other potential athletes,” said Ramirez, who also mentioned combat sports such as wushu, boxing, taekwondo, judo, jujitsu, and even skateboarding and windsurfing as possible medal sources for the 272-strong contingent.
This developed as the Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation announced an incentive package for Filipino medalists in the Indonesia showpiece, apart from bonuses guaranteed by the government under law.
Gold medal winners will be rewarded P1 million by the private organization headed by Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, while silver and bronze medalists stand to get P500,000 and P250,000, respectively.
The reward is apart from the incentive provided under Republic Act 10699 which gives gold medalist P2 million, silver medalist P1 million and bronze medalist P500,000.
“We want to help fuel the country’s dream of global recognition in sports. Through this incentive, we hope to motivate and inspire our athletes to excel and bring pride to our country,” said Uy, chairman of SIklab Atleta.
“To our athletes, your hard work and determination to excel despite adversities is an inspiration to your fellow Filipinos. You can count on the support of Siklab as you represent the best of our country to the world,” he added.
The foundation is a first-of-its-kind initiative of the private sector to help the Philippines in its quest to win its first Olympic gold.
Through a pool of funds gathered from private sponsors, Siklab Atleta has pledged to provide the country’s best athletes with training equipment and facilities, coaching, exposure to international competitions, education, housing, and livelihood programs.
It is backed by the country’s largest corporations, namely, SM Investments Corp., Belle Resources, RFM Corporation, Alaska, Tanduay Distillery, JG Summit, Megawide Construction, International Container Terminal Services, San Miguel Corporation, PLDT, United Laboratories, Ulticon Builders, Phoenix Petroleum, 2GO, Megaworld, Robinsons Land, and Piatco.
“We are thankful to the private sector for supporting our athletes and Siklab’s vision of bringing pride and glory to our country through sports,” said Uy.