For athletes, full allowances are worth more than just their monetary value
For a lot of national athletes, the the reinstatement of their full allowances goes beyond the recovery of lost monetary value.
Triathlete Nikko Huelgas, the representative of the Athletes Commission to the Philippine Olympic Committee executive board, said the reinstatement of the national athletes’ full monthly allowance proves that “the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Congress and the government are supporting us and valuing our efforts.”
And a lot of athletes agreed.
“It’s a major development for me because it makes me feel the support of our government,” said Eumir Felix Marcial, who is training in the United States currently with the aim of bringing home the country’s first Olympic gold.
Another Tokyo-bound Olympian, Irish Magno, said she is “thankful that the PSC did not abandon us and worked hard to give back our full allowances.”The national athletes’ monthly pay was slashed in the middle of the year as government devoted a lot of public funds to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It wasn’t much of a worry for athletes then, even if they did feel the financial pinch.
“I was still thankful that I was receiving something,” jiujitsu champion Annie Ramirez said.
Besides, the national athletes have always been taught to fight for flag and country above anything else.
“[W]hether there’s an allowances or none, we still continue what we are doing, and we still do our best in training because we are representing our country,” said weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, a silver medalist in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
“It’s not going to change if I don’t get my allowances but definitely it helps,” said pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who has also booked a ticket to Tokyo and is currently in Italy training for the Olympics. “To be honest, I think it is not all about the money for me.”
Still, the allowances, which were reinstated after the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) became law, were a welcome help—and a source of inspiration.
“This is a big help for us since my father lost his job after the closure of their company since four months ago due to the pandemic,” world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo told the Inquirer via a message sent through his mother, Angelica. Yulo is currently in Japan training for the Olympics. “I will do my very best in training to repay our government. I will do my best to win the gold [in the Tokyo Olympics] next year.”
Even national athletes from team sports will find their allowances reinstated, the PSC announced on Wednesday.
“Our paddlers are very thankful that they can now enjoy their allowances in full. The support of the government has been motivating our athletes to work harder and excel,’’ Philippines dragon boat team head coach Len Escollante said.
Athletes will retroactively receive the 50 percent of the June and July allowances that were slashed and their full allowances up to December.
The PSC has confirmed receipt of the P180 million under Bayanihan 2 and the remittances are now being processed for releasing by the first week of December.
“I salute our government for that effort,” said Nesthy Petecio, world women’s boxing champion. “In return, I will fight for glory for our country because that’s the only way I can repay our nation, by bringing home more medals.”
“I’m no wasting any day of my training [here in the United States] because we all know I have a good chance of winning an Olympic gold. That’s why I am really fully determined here,” Marcial said. “I have less worries now because I know the PSC is always behind me.”
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