The sacrifices done by Filipino athletes to prepare, join and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics are now starting to bear fruits.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez believes so, now that there are 19 Filipino athletes who have qualified for the quadrennial meet.
“The athletes who have been trying to qualify have been preparing and training for four years. Mahaba ang preparation, maraming sacrifices at malaki ang gastos. But they became polished, experienced and they learned a lot,” said Ramirez in a message on Facebook Live.
With the entry of two swimmers, Fil-Australian Luke Gebbie and Fil-American Remedy Rule, 19 Filipino athletes are seeing action in 11 sports during the Summer Games.
The others are pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, sprinter Kristina Knott, gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, boxers Felix Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno. Others are rower Cris Nievarez, skateboarder Margielyn Arda Didal, shooter Jayson Valdez, taekwondo jin Kurt Ryan Barbosa, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe,weightlifters Hidylin Diaz and Elreen Ann Ando and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan.
The Philippine Olympic contingent is the biggest in 21 years after 20 athletes saw action in nine disciplines during the 2000 Sydney Olympiad.
Ramirez said the government agency has spent a lot in helping these athletes reach out to their Olympic dreams, spending more than P1-billion every year to support their needs.
And this was also made possible with the support of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“Sa 21 years ng PSC, ilang bilyon na rin ang na-invest ng PSC. Before 2016, may naiwang pera ang previous administration. More than P1-billion din,” added Ramirez.