Team Philippines set to meet President Duterte before heading off to Rio Olympics
PSC chair Butch Ramirez confirmed that President Duterte will meet the Philippine team to the Olympics before its trip to Rio. Jerome Ascano

FILIPINO athletes bound for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics will have a courtesy call with President Rodrigo Duterte this Monday at Malacañang before leaving for Brazil on July 23, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez confirmed on Wednesday.

With the Rio Olympics being the next major sporting event to be held under the Duterte administration after the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, officials are stepping up to mark the historic occasion as the send-off will be the first time in a long while that the country's Chief Executive will meet the national athletes prior to a competition.

However, details of the exact time of the courtesy call have yet to be determined, owing to the busy schedule of President Duterte.

Not all athletes, though, will be present as some of them are abroad training.

But expected to attend the courtesy call are Kirstie Elaine Alora of taekwondo, Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia of weightlifting, Miguel Tabuena of golf, Marestella Torres-Sunang of athletics, and Ian Lariba of table tennis.

Ramirez said Duterte is supportive of the Filipino athletes as shown by his appearance in Gilas Pilipinas’ match against France during the recent Manila Olympic qualifier.

“It’s a good indication that the President is really into sports,” he said.

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