POC grants cash bonus to Junna Tsukii, comes to Lydia de Vega’s aid

Published July 22, 2022, 1:38 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Friday announced the granting of a P500,000 cash bonus for World Games karate gold medalist Junna Tsukii but, on the same breath, expressed shock and sadness on former Asian Sprint Queen Lydia de Vega’s enormous fight—against the Big C.

De Vega is currently confined at the Makati Medical Center because of Stage 4 breast cancer, an ailment diagnosed in 2018 but was kept under wraps that she didn’t show any sign of the dreaded disease when she joined her fellow former Filipino sports greats carry the country’s colors during the opening ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

“The news saddens me and the POC, our very own Lydia de Vega, our sports great, a Philippine treasure,” Tolentino said. “We in the POC family, my family, are hoping and praying that she wins this fight in the same manner as she won those great races in her prime.”

The POC Board approved a P100,000 medical assistance for De Vega with Tolentino adding another personal contribution of P100,000 for the sports heroine’s hospital needs.

Tsukii’s gold, the only medal won by a 10-athlete Team Philippines to the World Games that ended over the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, was worth P500,000 under POC policy on cash bonuses for athletes winning medals overseas.

“The POC recognizes Junna’s feast with honor, it wasn’t the Olympics but the World Games are that tough a competition,” Tolentino said.

The Philippines now has two gold medals from the World Games with Carlo Biado winning the first one in men’s 9-ball of billiards at the 2017 Wroclaw, Poland, edition.