Double cash rewards for SEA Games gold medalists
MANILA, Philippines–Winning a gold medal could be worth a fortune for Filipino athletes in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
From the P300,000 cash incentive that the Philippine Sports Commission will dole out to SEA Games winners, the Philippine Olympic Committee has promised to double the money for gold-medal performers.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino made the announcement during Wednesday’s Team Philippines send-off ceremony at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
“We, at the POC, will try our best to give the same cash incentive that the government will provide to our athletes based on the law,” said Tolentino before a multitude of athletes, coaches and top sports officials present at the pep rally for the biggest SEA Games in history.
It means world champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, projected to capture at least five gold medals, can fatten his bank account by P3 million once the P600,000 bonanza for every gold has been given out.
The same goes to other possible multiple gold medalists in medal-rich sports athletics, aquatics, traditional boat racing, billiards, shooting and arnis, among others.
The POC Executive Board headed by Tolentino has approved the additional cash bonus similar to the government financial package based on Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act.
During the final coordination meeting with sports leaders last week, 45 national sports association collectively projected that the country would win at least 220 gold medals, enough for Team Philippines to reclaim the overall title in the Games.
Chef de mission and PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez hailed the athletes and coaches for their commitment to go all-out in capturing the overall title.
Tolentino, the former sports and rules committee chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), said Filipino athletes could collect 180 gold medals at the most.
SEA Games gold performers will receive their cash bonuses during the POC Christmas party on Dec. 17 in an undisclosed venue.
Apart from the P600,000 cash bonanza, gold winners are also expected to receive more from private sponsors such as Presidential Adviser for Sports Dennis Uy of Phoenix Petroleum and Manny Pangilinan of the MVP group of companies.
Sports heroes Lydia De Vega-Mercado and Elma Muros-Posadas of athletics, bowling hall of famers Bong Coo and Paeng Nepomuceno, Asia’s first chess grandmaster Eugene Torre and Olympic silver medalists Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco of boxing provided the inspiration to the athletes.
Also present during the pep rally for athletes were House Speaker and Phisgoc chair Alan Peter Cayetano and PSC Commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Celia Kiram, Charles Maxey and Arnold Agustin.
A total of 1,115 Filipino athletes will compete in the 11-nation SEA Games on Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, Subic and New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
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