Go: Athletes bring pride to the country

Published June 1, 2021, 2:32 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Athletes bring pride to the country and give Filipinos a sense of unity.

Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate sports committee, stressed this after government heeded his appeal to include in the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination Filipino athletes and other delegates who will be competing or participating in the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam both this year.

`“Bandila ng Pilipinas at dangal ng lahing Pilipino ang itatanghal ng ating mga atleta sa mga palarong ito (The Philippine flag and pride of Filipinos will be carried by our athletes in these games). Dapat lamang na bigyan din natin sila ng sapat na proteksyon (It is but right for them to be protected),” he added.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has initiated on Saturday, May 29, the COVID-19 vaccination drive for the national athletes competing in the said competitions.

Among those who have already been vaccinated is Filipino rower Cris Nievarez, who will represent the country in the Tokyo Olympics. Members of the national volleyball and basketball teams, POC staff, and officials have also been inoculated.

Aside from the athletes, coaches, staff, and sports media have also been given their doses.

A “no vaccine, no participation” policy has recently been enforced by the organizers of the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi which will be held from November 21 to December 2.

Go is chairman of the Senate health and demography committee.

He cited the previous SEA (Southeast Asian) Games where athletes brought pride to the country and gave Filipinos a sense of unity.

Go also emphasized that this is not merely about competition but is also a source of livelihood for athletes and other sports professionals, especially those who come from poor communities.

Currently, national athletes are preparing for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics where they hope to bag the country’s first gold medal. They will also be participating in the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam to defend the Philippines’ championship title, and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to be held in Thailand in May next year.

At the height of the pandemic, Go urged the PSC to speed up the release of the allowances of the national athletes amid the pandemic. He also urged the government to provide other forms of assistance to support national athletes and coaches especially those who are preparing for international competitions.

“Amid the hardships we all bear and which we work hard to overcome, now, more than ever, we need more reasons to be united as one people and win as one nation,” he ended.

Earlier, Go committed his support for the construction of the Philippine Sports Training Center in Bataan. He also praised President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval of the timely release of the budget for the construction of the facilities and amenities of the National Academy of Sports (NAS) at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac.

The government will release a total of P729 million to cover the construction costs, including civil works requirements; fixtures, furniture, and equipment; and consultancy services for NAS this year.