For Filipino athletes to perform well in the Olympics, stakeholders in Philippine sports must earmark around P30 million per individual annually for the next four years.
Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico said this is the amount of money that the government, the national sports association and the private sector need to spend and commit to an athletes’ Olympic journey.
“So, you can just imagine the amount of money and commitment that the government, the NSAs and the private sector need to produce one elusive gold medal,” said Juico in a virtual discussion on Tuesday evening.
Juico talked about the country’s Tokyo Olympics campaign during a policy forum hosted by the Benito and Catalino Yap Foundation, some three days for the start of the Tokyo Games.
The PATAFA chief made an example out of the training and exposure of pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena in Europe over the last two years.
Since Obiena stayed in Formia, Italy where the coronavirus lockdowns started, the government, the private sector and the NSAs spent around P23 million to keep him in shape and and sharp during the 15 competitions that he managed to join for a year.
Around P15.3 million was spent on the coaching staff, with his legendary coach Vitaly Petrov getting around P7.2 million.
Training and staying in Formia, Italy cost around P8.8 million, while travel to different areas of competition needed around P5.4 million.
“This is the lifeblood of an athlete, constant competition because it is your duty to train and play. The more competition you join, the more competitive and confident you become,” added Juico.
Historically, Juico said the Philippines has won a total of 10 medals in the Olympics.
And it began in the 1928 Amsterdam Games where swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso earned a bronze medal in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke.
“The winners of medals since 1928 were in athletics, boxing, swimming, and, lately, weightlifting. And these are sports that we are hinging on,” added Juico.
Sports officials believe that the present national delegation is the most prepared contingent since the 1924 Paris Olympics.
The present crop of Filipino athletes emerged after 96 athletes from 18 national sports associations trained, prepared and joined Olympic qualification competitions since the coronavirus pandemic took place last year, even if there were travel restrictions that were placed in many countries.
The present national delegation is considered as the second largest contingent that the country has assembled since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In the team are Obiena (athletics), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Eumir Felix Marcial (boxing), Irish Magno (boxing), Nesthy Petecio (boxing), Carlo Paalam (boxing), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) and Cris Nievarez (rowing), Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo), Margielyn Didal (skateboarding), Elreen Ando (weightlifting), Jayson Valdez (shooting), Juvic Pagunsan (golf), Kiyomi Watanabe (judo), Kristina Knott (athletics), Yuka Saso (golf), Bianca Pagdanganan (golf), and swimmers Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule.
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