Windfall for Tokyo gold medal gets bigger
Business tycoon Ramon S. Ang has just driven up the value of a gold medal in the coming Tokyo Olympics to P30 million, something which bright hopes like EJ Obiena can refocus on after he was replaced as one of the country’s flag bearers.
Philippine Olympic Committee president (POC) Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino profusely thanked the generosity of the San Miguel Corporation big boss, and the POC chief believes more monetary pledges will surface for medal-winning Filipino athletes.
“The cash incentive for an Olympic gold medal could reach up to P50 million, which is equivalent to $1 million in other countries,’’ Tolentino told sportswriters during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
Ang matched the commitment made by MVP Sports Foundation of Manny V. Pangilinan and the government incentives based on Republic Act No. 10699, raising the cash bonanza to P30 million for gold medalists.
Obiena was nominated by the POC as one of the country’s flag bearers together with judoka Kiyomi Watanabe. But with upgraded health protocols imposed by organizers recently, the bemedaled pole vaulter would not be able to make it to Japan 48 hours before the opening ceremonies as required.
Traveling from Formia, Italy, Obiena will arrive in Tokyo just a few hours prior to the parade of countries on the same day.
Aside from the 48-hour window enforced by Tokyo organizers, Tolentino explained that Obiena might experience the confusion during arrival where athletes, coaches and officials have been forced to wait for at least five hours at the airport.
“Even if we ask that EJ be allowed to carry the flag, he might not still make it due to that bottleneck at the airport,’’ said Tolentino during the forum sponsored by San Miguel, Pagcor, Go For Gold, PLDT, Milo, Braska and Amelie Hotel.
Tolentino, meanwhile, added that Tagaytay City, where he was a former mayor, has pledged a house and lot for a golden performance.
Known as the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, RA 10699 rewards P10 million for gold medalists, P5 million for silver-medal performers and P2 million for a bronze-medal effort.