PSC chief: Martinez got financial help from gov’t, SM
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Tuesday said it did not receive any request from the Philippine Skating Union (PSU) for financial support for figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, the lone Filipino athlete in the ongoing Sochi Winter Olympics.
Amid suggestions that the government had not provided financial support for the 17-year-old standout, PSC Chair Richie Garcia said such claim was unfair as he was made to understand that Martinez’s training and campaigns overseas were shouldered by businessman Hans Sy and the SM malls where Martinez started out as a skater.
Garcia said that it had also approved a request from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for $7,200 aid for Martinez.
“It’s not true that we did not help him,” Garcia said. “We want to know if we turned our back on the athlete.”
The PSC chair said Martinez’s mother, Maria Teresa, had indeed asked for financial support from the government agency.
But Garcia said the move did not follow protocol as it should be the PSU that would make the request in behalf of the athlete especially if the amount was more than P50,000.
“It’s OK if the amount was small but when you talk about millions, it should be the association that should make the request,” Garcia said, noting that the PSU was one of the few NSAs (national sports associations) that did not submit a budget proposal to the PSC last year.
“We never received such request so we couldn’t do anything about it,” he said.
Garcia also recalled that he had discussed Martinez’s case with Sy three weeks ago and was told that the figure skater’s expenses to compete in Sochi were all taken care of.
“Why is it the PSC’s fault now?” Garcia asked. “We are thankful for sponsors. We are just protecting the government’s money which we can use for other athletes.”
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