Duterte pledges P100M to help train Tokyo Olympics qualifiers
Filipino athletes who qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics won’t have to worry about logistical support anymore, after President Duterte pledged a war chest of P100 million for their training and exposure in a bid to end the country’s century-old gold-medal chase.
Philippine Sports Commission Chair William “Butch” Ramirez said Mr. Duterte has told Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair/CEO Andrea Domingo to set aside the amount for Olympic qualifiers during the Malacañang visit of Filipino medalists of the recent Southeast Asian Games.
“We have a President who really loves our athletes. We will provide everything they need to become successful in the Olympics,’’ Ramirez said.
Asian champion pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo have already qualified to the Tokyo Summer Games on July 24-Aug. 9, while several more are expected to join them in the next couple of months.
Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is looking to don the national colors for the fourth consecutive time in the quadrennial global sportsfest with two more qualifying tournaments on her calendar—the Roma 2020 World Cup next month and the 2020 Senior Weightlifting Championships in Kazakhstan come April.
Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal (skateboarding), judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, and boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial are also on the list of who are expected to book a ticket to Tokyo.
The 19-year-old Yulo, however, is considered the strongest Filipino contender for the gold medal in the Olympics, having won the floor exercise in men’s artistic gymnastics during the world championships. He is expected to face the same opposition in the Olympics.
The 24-year-old Obiena will return to Italy early next year to continue improving his craft under renowned coach Vitaly Petrov, who mentored Ukranian Sergey Bubka and Russian Yelena Isinbayeva to unparalleled fame in the world championships and the Olympics.
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