TOKYO — No Philippine Olympian from the XXXII Games here will come home entirely empty-handed regardless if they were denied a podium finish — by circumstance, design or sheer superiority of the world-class competition.
The Philippine Olympic Committee, through its president Rep. Bambol Tolentino, announced Thursday that all non-medalist PH athletes will be receiving P500,000 each courtesy of the MVP Sports Foundation.
Organized to “centralize the sports initiatives of the MVP Group, particularly the National Team programs that it supports,” the MVPSF is chaired by telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chief Al Panlilio as president and Philippine Rowing Association head Patrick Gregorio as executive vice president.
“The non-medalists in the Tokyo Olympics will receive incentives of P500,000 each,” said Tolentino.
“Everyone on Team Philippines in these ‘Golden Olympics’ deserve all the praises, and in this case, incentives, they need. Qualifying for the Olympics is already that difficult, what more competing in the Games themselves.”
Two disciplines — boxing and golf — remain in the hunt for medals as the Games near their close on Sunday.
Middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial and flyweight Carlo Paalam, and golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso carry the final assault for the country, which has clinched its first-ever Olympic gold medal with weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and a silver medal behind featherweight Nesthy Petecio.
Both Marcial and Paalam are guaranteed bronze medals following quarterfinal victories and are fighting for berths to the gold medal round at the Kokugikan Arena at press time, while Pagdanganan and Saso are halfway through in the women’s individual stroke play at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama with high hopes.
Recipients of the MVPSF incentive are rowing’s Cris Nievarez, taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosa, skateboarding’s Margielyn Didal, shooting’s Jayson Valdez, gymnastics’ Carlos Yulo, boxing’s Irish Magno, judo’s Kiyomi Watanabe, weightlifting’s Elreen Ando, golf’s Juvic Pagunsan, athletics’ EJ Obiena (pole vault) and Kristina Knott (200m), and swimming’s Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie.
“Lubos po akong nagpapasalamat sa POC at MVPSF sa kanilang pag suporta mula sa aming paghahanda, hanggang sa aming pakikipaglaban at lalo na ngayon na natapos na ang aming kampanya,” said Magno, who bowed to Thailand’s Jatamas Jitpong in their women’s flyweight 48-51kg Round of 16 bout on July 29.
“Magsisilbing malaking inspirasyon ang incentive na ito para aming pang pag igihan ang aming pakikipag laban sa darating na panahon. Maraming maraming salamat po talaga!”