MVP Foundation vows to help Hidilyn Diaz upgrade her weightlifting gym in Zamboanga
“I was told Hidilyn (Diaz) runs the gym for underprivileged boys and girls purely on donation from friends,” says MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio. Jaime Campos

THE MVP Sports Foundation is looking beyond monetary consideration as a form of reward for the silver medal of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in the Rio Olympics.

MVP Foundation president Al Panlilio said the institution, which provides monetary and logistical support to a number of sports, is looking to work with the 25-year-old lady lifter on how to upgrade the Mampang Weightlifting Club in Zamboanga which the country’s new sports heroine has been running on her own.

The makeshift gym is located right in front of Diaz’s home in Barangay Mampang in Zamboanga City, where the Olympic silver medalist trains potential weightlifters at such a young age whenever she’s in town.

“I was told Hidilyn runs the gym for underprivileged boys and girls purely on donation from friends,” said Panlilio, just a few minutes after Diaz arrived in Manila from Rio de Janeiro amid a hero’s welcome following her runner-up finish in the women’s 53 kg class of the weightlifting competitions that ended the country’s 20-year Olympic medal drought.

“This is her advocacy.”

[See Diaz drops retirement plan, says she's going for gold in Tokyo Olympics]

So instead of giving her with financial rewards – as what others would be doing apart from the P5 million reward she is guranteed by the Philippine Sports Commission – the MVP Sports Foundation is planning to help the three-time Olympian in promoting weightlifting through her gym club.

“We will discuss it with her. We would like to help her in this advocacy of hers,” said Panlilio, who is also the newly-elected president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Weightlifting is among the number of sports being supported by the foundation named after businessman-sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan along with boxing, taekwondo, badminton, football, cycling, tennis, and running.

The organization was among the prominent ones mentioned by Diaz when she thanked all the patrons who supported her on the road to Olympic glory.


“Monico (Fuentevella) was among those who first texted us when Hidilyn won the silver medal in Rio, thanking us for all the support of the MVP Foundation throughout these years,” said Panlilio, referring to the  honorary Asian weightlifting president and former Philippine Weightlifting Association prexy.

Panlilio said there was no mention of handing out cash reward to Diaz for her Olympic feat, although the top sports official said he won’t be surprised if Pangilinan will extend financial bonus to the first ever Filipina to win an Olympic medal for the country.

“Knowing MVP’s generosity, I know he’ll give out one,” said Panlilio.

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