Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez (Screengrab)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez lauded the hard work of the Filipino athletes as he expressed confidence that the 19-strong Tokyo Olympics qualifiers have what it takes to get a golden finish.
“I’m so excited for the result of the hard work of the athletes, coaches, and NSAs on this journey to Tokyo Olympics in this pandemic,” Ramirez said during the PSC Hour program of Radyo Pilipinas Dos on Friday.
The two-time PSC chief thanked the athletes for their sacrifices and dedication to reach their dream of becoming an Olympian which, according to him, is not an overnight success.
“Yung makarating ka lang ng Olympics, parang nanalo ka na rin ng gold (When you just get to the Olympics, it’s like you’ve already won gold). It’s priceless to be in an international competition lalo na sa (especially in) Olympics” Ramirez said.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic that hampered the athletes’ preparation, Ramirez said the Philippine team has a good chance to bring home an Olympic medal.
“Naniniwala akong may medalya tayo sa Tokyo Olympics. Malamang meron tayong gold, silver at bronze medal kasi mayron din tayong mga baguhan na pwedeng gumawa ng surprises. Hindi naman kailangan na umabot ka ng 12 years para maka-medalya ka sa Olympics. Depende talaga sa talento, coaching, exposure, serendipity, at panahon, maraming factors yan (I believe we can win medal in Tokyo Olympics. We probably have gold, silver and bronze medals because we also have beginners who can make surprises. You don’t have to take 12 years to win an Olympics medal. It really depends on the talent, coaching, exposure, serendipity, and time, there are many factors),” he said.
He also said preparing for the Olympics is not a one-year affair, saying preparation for the Tokyo 2020+1 Olympics started as early as the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Ramirez said the PSC has spent around PHP2 billion for the national team’s expenses since 2016 just to form a formidable team for Tokyo Games.
The Philippines will be sending the second-biggest delegation since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The Tokyo-bound Filipino athletes include Ernest John Obiena (athletics), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Eumir Felix Marcial (boxing), Irish Magno (boxing), Nesthy Petecio (boxing), Carlo Paalam (boxing), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), 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), Luke Gebbie (swimming) and Remedy Rule (swimming).
Ramirez said the country’s Olympic campaign can become a uniting factor for the country.
“Sana makatulong sa environment ng Pilipinas. Hopefully, we can unite them. Sana magkaisa ang mga Pilipino dahil sa mga atleta (Hope to help the Philippine environment. Hopefully, we can unite them. I hope Filipinos unite because of the athletes),” he said.
He also requested the prayers and support of Filipinos for all the national athletes as they try anew to get the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8.
“I encourage everyone to offer some prayers for our delegation. We need your prayers and your cheers. Win or lose help us. Sana mamayagpag ang atletang Pilipino (I hope our Filipino athletes will excel),” he said. (PR)