Mission: Find Olympic gold
Efforts to produce the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist have gone up to a whole new level through the creation of the Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Foundation.
A brainchild of businessman and Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, the foundation will heavily pour its resources on individual athletes handpicked by the Philippine Sports Commission to finally seize the ultimate prize in the quadrennial global Summer Games.
“This will be a special operation aside from the normal funding that our athletes usually get,” said PSC Chair Butch Ramirez.
Since participating in the 1924 Paris Olympics, the Philippines has so far collected only three silver and seven bronze medals.
Ramirez said Siklab aims to break the fruitless streak by raising funds to finance 28 athletes from 12 sports for them to qualify and possibly bring home a gold medal from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Rio de Janeiro Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, Filipino-Japanese judokas Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahashi, windsurfer Geylord Coveta and gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Kaitlin De Guzman headline the list of athletes of Siklab and the PSC.
“We will support them all the way to the Olympics,” said Ramirez. “We will provide the finest coaches and monitor their progress from training to competition for them to qualify.”
Hurdler Eric Cray, who holds the 400-meter hurdles record in the Southeast Asian Games, and SEA Games double-gold medalist Trenten Anthony Beram have also been pinpointed, as well as archer Nicole Tagle and potential medalists from swimming, taekwondo, boxing and surfing.
Uy, who owns Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, convenience store chain FamilyMart and logistics giant 2GO, has been raising P1 billion for these athletes in partnership with the PSC and the private sector.
“With this project, we are very positive that we can achieve medals in the Asian Games and the Olympics,” said Ramirez.
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