Prior to the Tokyo Olympics, receiving cash incentives is not in the radar of Philippine Team athletes since all are focused on representing the country with the best of their abilities.
That is, of course, understandable.
But as the dust cleared after a thrilling event in women’s weightlifting, Filipino veteran weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz can now start counting her millions – and that’s going to be a lot of cash.
Diaz, a 30-year-old native of Zamboanga City, delivered a historic performance Monday night, July 26 at the Tokyo International Forum as she bagged the country’s first gold medal in the Summer Games.
Diaz ruled the 55-kilogram category in women’s weightlifting event as she set an Olympic record of 224kgs total lift, combining her 127kgs in clean and jerk – also an Olympic mark – and 97kgs in snatch.
She bested China’s world record holder Liao Qiuyun, who finished with a total of 223kgs following her 97kgs in snatch and 126kgs in clean and jerk to earn a silver, while Kazakhstan’s Chinshanlo Zulfiya placed third for the bronze with a total of 213kgs – 90kgs in snatch and 123kgs in clean and jerk.
Her victory ended a near century drought – 97 years to be exact – for the country.
For that, she will be rewarded.
Under Republic Act (RA) 10699, the government – through its sports agency Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) – will provide a cash incentive of P10 million to gold medal winners in the Olympics.
However, aside from the PSC, private companies have already pledged to provide similar cash rewards.
The MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) of telecommunication mogul Manny V. Pangilinan has approved P10 million for Filipino gold medal winners, the same amount that San Miguel Corporation (SMC) of Ramon S. Ang said it would give a few days before the Tokyo Olympics.
The two giant companies will also match the P5 million rewards for silver medal winners, and P2 million for bronze medalists from the government – moves that hope to boost the morale of Filipino athletes.
Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero also pledged an additional P3 million for gold medalists.
However, expect several more of the private companies to join and provide incentives to Diaz, even if not in the form of cash reward. A house and lot, or a brand new car would also be a handsome bonus for finally putting the country in the gold medal tally in the Olympics.
After all, after years or sacrifices, perseverance, heartaches and challenges, Diaz deserves all these.