Valenzuela City Rep. Eric Martinez is asking the national government to pump more funds for the country’s national athletes bound for the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021.
He lamented that the national government has slashed the allocations of all government agencies to augment the Department of Health’s budget and fund social amelioration programs amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a Sept. 7 budget hearing of the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp., Martinez requested more fund assistance to help the Tokyo Olympic-bound national athletes in 2021.
He said there are 86 athletes who are currently undergoing a series of training, of which 65 of them are here in the Philippines, while 21 others are training abroad.
“Thus far, gymnast Carlo Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno have already officially qualified to participate with weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz expected to be added to the list of Olympic qualifiers,” he said.
“In no other time in the sports history of the Philippines has been this poised to win an Olympic gold which has eluded the country ever since it participated in this prestigious international game in 1924,” he added.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the fighting spirit of the country’s national team has been buoyed by the successful hosting of the
2019 Southeast Asian Games, where the Philippines emerged as overall champion.
Martinez said he is confident that “at long last, the elusive Olympic gold medal is now very well within reach.”