ARMED WITH FOCUS, MOTIVATION
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia is confident a Filipino athlete would bring home a medal from the London Olympics set July 27 to Aug. 12.
While admitting the tall odds all our 11 athletes are facing in the London joust, Garcia is somewhat optimistic about the Filipinos chances of snaring medals, saying: “Kung tanungin mo ako regarding my projection, sa tingin ko lang, itong mga atleta natin ngayon, they are well-motivated.”
“Our athletes are more focused and well-prepared,” added Garcia, who will leave for London on July 26 to personally cheer for the 11 athletes seeing action in eight sports disciplines.
The Philippines is sending two athletes each in swimming, track and field and archery, and one each in boxing, shooting, judo and weightlifting in the summer Olympics, which is a scant 10 days before its opening.
The government sports agency has initially allotted P30 million for the training and actual participation of the 11 athletes, but Garcia said the agency would be spending only about half of the amount for the purpose.
It’s because the board and lodging for 11 athletes as well as of the six other POC officials manning the team — POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, POC chairman Monico Puentevella, Steve Hontiveros, chief of mission Manny Lopez, secretariat man Arsenic Lacson and a press attaché — will be taken care of by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The P15-million budget, according to the PSC top honcho, went to the athletes’ allowances, training and equipment.
The athletes stand to receive $60 daily allowances upon leaving the Philippines up to the duration of their respective events. The PSC also extended the same-rate allowance to athletes who have left earlier than scheduled to join the training camp being extended by the host country to selected athletes around the world.
Athletes who would be bringing home medals stand to receive handsome monetary incentives from the government under Incentives Act.
The government is giving away P5 million for gold medal winners, P2.5 million for silver winners and P1 million for bronze medal winners.
Garcia said the incentive could still increase if donors from the private sector give their share.
“Kaya talagang sa tingin ko, di malayo na makakuha tayo ng medalya sa London. But as I always say, kung magkamedalya tayo, we have to give credit to the NSAs and the POC dahil sila ang pumipili at nagsasanay ng mga atleta,” said Garcia.
He stressed that the role of the PSC is to provide financial support to the athletes.
The 11 Philippine Olympians who earned tickets to London either as wild cards or via qualifying tournament are Rene Herrera and Marestella Torres (athletics), Jessie King Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi (swimming), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), Mark Anthony Barriga (boxing), Mark Javier and Rachel Anne Cabral-de la Cruz (archery), Brian Rosario (shooting), Fil-Japanese Tomohiko Hoshina (judo) and Fil-Am Danny Caluag (BMX, cycling).
Save for Javier, Cabral-de la Cruz, Caluag and Hoshina, the rest are currently training in London.
Meanwhile, will expound on the country’s campaign in the London Olympics in today’s session of the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
Garcia’s appearance in the public sports program comes a week before the 11-man athlete Philippine team begins its quest for an elusive first ever Olympic gold medal. An invitation to guest in the forum has also been extended to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, according to PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo.
Also in the guests list of the weekly session aired live over dzSR Sports Radio 918 and presented by Smart, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and Shakey’s, are Tisha Abundo and the participants in the third leg of the Petron Ladies Beach Volleyball Tournament, and officials of the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU) led by president Jay Adalem of St Claire, Mhel Garrido of STI, and Atty. Ernesto de los Santos of UM.
Another invited guests are Arena Ball Philippines president Dodi Palma and ABP league commissioner Riel Banaria to discuss the local debut of the sport on July 21 at the Subic Freeport Zone.
The session will be the last for the PSA this month to give way to the coverage of the London Games. The weekly forum resumes on Aug. 7