PH athletes will win two golds in Tokyo Olympics if given full support, says Peping Cojuangco
Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz has been elevated into a priority athlete by the PSC, and her monthly allowance subsequently increased to P43,000. Jerome Ascano

ALL 13 Filipino Olympians who represented the country in the recent 2016 Rio Games got a financial bonus from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Wednesday.

Sports commissioner Celia Kiram disclosed the granting of the monetary benefit amounting to P50,000 each during the thanksgiving ceremony held by TV5 in honor of the Olympians at the Passion restaurant of the Resorts World Hotel.

“Those who qualified to the Rio Olympics meron silang additional P50,000,” said the sports official, whose announcement was greeted with wild applause during the hour-long ceremony attended by no less than the country’s latest Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.

As the country’s first Olympic medal winner in the last 20 years, Diaz’s monthly allowance with the government sports agency has also been increased to P43,000 after being elevated as a priority athlete, along with the 12 other fellow Olympians.

“Also they are elevated into priority athletes,” added Kiram, who came over for the event on behalf of PSC chairman Butch Ramirez.

Diaz was joined during the gathering by boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, taekwondo jin Kirstie Alora, and swimmer Jessie King Lacuna. With the exception of long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang, the rest of the Olympians are currently out of the country.

Diaz, Alora, and the two boxers all vowed to give their best shot at qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

“Hopefully po sa 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said the bubbly 25-year-old weightlifter from Zamboanga about the prospect of competing anew in the quadrennial meet for the fourth straight time.

Also in attendance were Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the country Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, TV5 President and CEO Chot Reyes, PH chef de mission to the Rio Games Joey Romasanta, POC chairman Tom Carrasco, heads of the different National Sports Associations (NSAs), and athletes from other sports.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

In his speech, Cojuangco again reiterated the need for the country to have a new training facility for the Filipino athletes, adding if both government and the private sector would work hand in hand in pooling all of its resources, better things are bound to happen for Philippine sports come the Tokyo Games.

“I guarantee you two gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics,” said the 82-year-old former congressman and presidential brother.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos