MANILA, Philippines — In pursuit of helping the country end its long search for an elusive first Olympic gold medal, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has continuously bankrolled the campaign of Filipino Tokyo Games hopefuls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the teams the agency has funded is the Hidilyn Diaz-led national weightlifting team’s participation in the Asian Weightlifting Championships that unfurls today in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The PSC, in fact, coughed up Php4.9 million in the national lifters’ participation in the 10-day event alone and another Php1 million for Diaz’ personal staff of Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao and a conditioning assistant, who flew from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where they have trained for over a year now.
The rest of the team — 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon, Vanessa Sarno, John Fabuar Ceniza, Elreen Ann Ando, Mary Flor Diaz, Margaret Colonia, John Dexter Tabique and Elien Rose Perez — flew from Manila last Tuesday to join Diaz and her crew.
The 2016 Rio silver medal winner will only need to complete a lift to automatically qualify to Tokyo alongside gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam.
“It was never a question of supporting them or not, because we will as much as we can,” said PSC chairman William Ramirez.
The PSC has also financed triathlon’s participation in the 2021 Asia Triathlon Championships set April 23-25 in Hatsukaichi, Japan with almost Php 1 million.
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