Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has received financial backing from the MVP Sports Foundation in the form of a realigned P1.5 million package to cover her training even with the Tokyo Olympics reset next year.
MVPSF president Al Panlilio said they understand the struggles of Diaz, silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, due to the extended time preparing for the 2020 edition of the meet and are eager to be of assistance.
“It was due to these unforeseen circumstances,” Panlilio, also the president of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and Meralco Bolts representative to the PBA Board, said Friday that a decision was reached.
“We at MVPSF decided that it was best to realign our support to cover Hidilyn’s living expenses such as food and rent as she continues to remain focused towards her goal of winning the first Olympic gold medal for our country in her fourth time to qualify for the Olympics,” Panlilio said.
Panlilio said that on the orders of MVPSF chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, looking after Diaz’s welfare and that of other national athletes is their priority and doing something to ease the burden is what they want to do particularly in this situation.
Even more so for the 29-year-old Diaz as she and her team made up of Chinese mentor Kaiwen Gao, strengthening/conditioning mentor Julius Naranjo and therapist Belen Bañas continue to stay in training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Our chairman Manny V. Pangilinan deeply cares about all of the athletes under the MVPSF banner and we’re doing our best to help take care of their needs during this difficult time,” he said.
“We don’t want Hidilyn to worry about her day-to-day needs so she could pour in all her focus on training and bringing home that elusive Olympic gold medal.”
For her part, Diaz said she is thankful to the support of the MVPSF, which has been with her prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Budget yun for this year for competitions and trainings pero dahil sa COVID-19 nagbago po ng priority ngayon. Syempre kasi wala ng laro at kailangan ko din po talaga ng support kasi moved ang Olympics next year,” said Diaz in a message to Manila Bulletin.
“Sobrang thankful ako sa MVPSF for being there lalo last year na down na down ako, then this year din dahil na-move ang Olympics, nandiyan pa rin sila. Parang sa hirap at ginhawa nandiyan sila for the Filipino athletes, they help Filipino athletes in any way.”
Aside from Diaz, other Filpino athletes bound to the Olympics supported by the MVPSF include gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.