By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – For being part of the Philippines’ most successful Olympic campaign ever, even those who failed to land a podium finish in this year’s Tokyo Olympics will still receive a monetary reward.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) announced on Thursday that the MVP Sports Foundation will be giving away PHP500,000 each to the Olympic non-medalists.
“Everyone on Team Philippines in these ‘Golden Olympics’ deserve all the praises, and in this case, incentives, they need,” POC president Bambol Tolentino said. “Qualifying for the Olympics is already that difficult, what more competing in the Games themselves.”
Benefiting from this development are rowing’s Cris Nievarez, taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosa, skateboarding’s Margielyn Didal, shooting’s Jayson Valdez, gymnastics’ Carlos Yulo, boxing’s Irish Magno, judo’s Kiyomi Watanabe, weightlifting’s Elreen Ando, golf’s Juvic Pagunsan, athletics’ EJ Obiena (pole vault), Kristina Knott (200m run), and swimming’s Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie.
The place in the history of the Philippines’ 2020 Tokyo Olympics team has been secured when Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first-ever gold in the women’s 55-kg weightlifting event.
Nesthy Petecio added a silver in the women’s featherweight boxing event.
Still in the running for a medal are golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan.
Pagdanganan finished the first round of the women’s golf event within striking distance of a Top 3 finish after going two-under-par 69 on Wednesday, good for a share of seventh place with Round 2 ongoing as of posting.
On the other hand, boxers Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam are already assured of medals as well but can still upgrade them to silver or even gold.
Paalam will face Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka in the flyweight division, while Marcial battles Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak in the middleweight division during their semifinal matches later Thursday.
The four medals this year are the most hauled by the Philippines in a single Olympiad, besting the three bronzes in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. (PNA)