Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez (File/screengrab)
TOKYO – Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez and Chief of Staff Marc Velasco arrived here on Thursday and expressed their readiness to cheer the country’s 19 Filipino athletes when they head to battle in the Summer Olympic Games.
Ramirez, who owns the distinction as the only chairman since the PSC’s establishment in 1990 to be at the helm of the sports agency in three Olympics (Beijing 2008, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020), said he is the “humble representative of millions of Filipinos, who wish the athletes success.”
“The quadrennial meet will be under a very different circumstances, but know, that you, athletes, are not alone as millions of Filipinos back home will be glued to their screens, cheering and praying for you. Today, I am not just a sports official, I am a father, proud to see his children achieve and see that their dreams are within reach,” Ramirez said.
The PSC has been with the 19 Olympians every step of their way in their Olympic journey, helping them raise their standards to world-class levels in terms of performance in the international scene.
“We spent PHP2 billion for the training and exposure of our athlete since 2016 to form a strong team for Tokyo. Never in the history of our country has government been this supportive of the Filipino athlete, financially. Ngayon lang nangyari ito sa pamunuan ng ating Pangulong (It happened only now under the leadership of President) Rodrigo Duterte,” Ramirez said.
He also extolled the Olympians for their hard work and perseverance during the pandemic.
“Our athletes are a source of inspiration and pride. The chance to show the world your athletic excellence, a chance to make your Olympic dreams come true, at a time when sports competitions, training and qualifications, values and character were greatly challenged, a chance to show a global arena, what Filipino athletes are made of,” Ramirez said.
The Philippines sent its second-biggest delegation since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The Olympic team includes 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).
“We are all invested in this because we all believe in the dream, now on the brink of reality. This is history unfolding before our very eyes and we get to be part of it,” Ramirez said. (PR)