RIO DE JANEIRO – Former Asian Games gold medalist Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski arrived here on Monday (Tuesday Manila time) to cheer and boost the morale of Filipino athletes seeing action in the XXXI Olympiad.
Cojuangco-Jaworski, who holds the position as the International Olympic Committee’s representative to the Philippines, gave the Filipino bets a brief pep talk a few days before action in the Summer Games formally kicks off on August 5.
“Of course, I’m proud of them na nakarating sila dito,” said Cojuangco-Jaworski. “’Yung mag-qualify ka lang for the Olympics is a great achievement.”
A former athlete herself being a member of the equestrian national team, Cojuangco-Jaworski expressed high regard for the athletes, more so since she never made it to the Olympics during her prime.
“Kaya masaya ako para sa kanila kasi ako, hindi ako nakapag-compete sa Olympics. Hindi lang ako proud sa kanila, pero ‘yung respeto ko sa kanila, nandoon,” she added.
Judging from the reaction of the athletes, Cojuangco-Jaworski saw their determination in bringing honor and glory to the country.
“Of course, hindi naman tayo pumasok sa organized sport para lang makabiyahe. Everyone is competitive. Everyone wants to do their best. Sana ‘yung preparation nila is sapat para maabot ‘yung gusto nilang maabot,” said the daughter of long-time Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco.
Naturally, Cojuangco-Jaworski hopes the Filipinos will be able to bring home a medal and break the country’s 20-year medal drought after boxer Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco won a silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
“Of course, gusto natin ng medal for the Philippines pero if there’s anybody who wants it the most, it’s the athletes. We are here to support them,” said Cojuangco-Jaworski.