MVPSF gears up for PH Tokyo Olympics bid
Working behind the glare of the limelight, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio could only smile as he studied the final list of gold medalists of Team Philippines in the 30th Southeast Asian games.
And it wasn’t just because of the basketball sweep.
Panlilio is also the president of the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) and the athletes the group supported were among those who contributed to the medal rush of the country, which tabbed the SEA Games overall championship on a hoard of 149 gold medals.
“We’re proud to have played a part in the success of select Filipino athletes in the Southeast Asian Games,” Panlilio said. But like the other sports officials, Panlilio said the SEA Games milestone is just the beginning.
“We’re proud of the achievements of all Filipino athletes but we can’t stop here. We will use this momentum to try and get even more Filipinos to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
They’re on the right track, so far. Athletes supported by the MVPSF accounted for 35 gold medals. But it isn’t only the number that is impressive—it’s also the list of athletes.
“The best thing about winning 35 golds out of the 78 medals from athletes that MVPSF supported is that a lot of our champions are strong Olympic hopefuls,” said Ryan Gregorio, MVPSF executive director.
“We’re proud of every athlete we supported and we’re hopeful for those who can carry our flag in Tokyo,” he added.
Carlos Yulo, who won two golds and five silvers in SEA Games gymnastics, shot to the top of the probability spectrum when it comes to breaking the country’s long and fruitless search for an Olympic victory. Also among those backed by the foundation is Rio Olymics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who ruled women’s weightlifting with the 55-kilogram gold, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal, who topped two SEA Games events.
The country’s boxers are also strong bets for Olympic berths—and potential Olympic glory—and winning seven golds in the biennial meet gives them momentum going into grueling qualification tournaments abroad. The foundation also supports boxing, along with golf, cycling and taekwondo—all gold producers in the SEA Games.
“The MVP Sports Foundation will not cease its support of the Filipino athlete and the Philippines’ unrelenting quest to finally get an Olympic gold medal,” Panlilio said.
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