POC seeks more funds for Olympic bid
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino sought an additional P510 million budget for elite sports for 2021 as the country got a clear shot at possibly winning its first or even more Olympic gold medal at the rescheduled Tokyo Games, accoridng to a report by Philippine News Agency.
“Tokyo could be that host city where the country could win not one, not two, but probably more Olympic gold medals in 2021. And along this line, the athletes need all the support in their bid to accomplish what has never been achieved before,” Tolentino said after his interpellation on the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) proposed budget for 2021.
The PSC proposed for a traditional Department of Budget Management-endorsed PHP207 million 2021 budget that is intended for the agency’s operations and salaries and wages of personnel.
On top of that, an additional PHP510 million was proposed as additional funding primarily intended for Filipino athletes training and preparation for the Tokyo Olympics and for the Games qualifiers.
“The PSC needs the full support of Congress—the House and Senate—because 2021 is the year when the Olympic gold medal beckons,” Tolentino said. “I am confident that elusive gold medal will be achieved in Tokyo.”
PSC chairman William Ramirez said of the PHP510 million additional budget, PHP150 million will be for the Tokyo Olympics campaign, while PHP100 million will be for the preparation and participation in the Southeast Asian Games where the country will be defending the overall championship when Vietnam hosts the biennial games from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 next year.
“The SEA Games are on top of the priorities as we defend the overall title which we achieved when we hosted the event in 2019,” Tolentino said.
The remaining PHP250 million will be allocated for the Asian Beach Games, Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games, Asian Youth Games, Asian Youth Para Games, SEA Para Games, Tokyo Paralympics, and Asean Youth Games.
Tolentino is pinning high hopes on world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and recently turned pro boxer Eumir Felix Marcial as the brightest chances for the gold medal, along with fast-progressing pole vaulter Earnest John “EJ” Obiena and woman boxer Irish Magno.
Waiting in the wings are women’s world boxing champion Nesthy Petecio and Rio 2016 weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, whose respective Tokyo qualifiers were postponed for early 2021 by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, the Philippine chef de mission to Tokyo, pegged his expectations to at least 18 Filipinos qualifying for the Games set from July 23 to Aug. 8 next year.
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