Ramirez, PSC chair with the golden touch, deflects all glory to athletes
By sheer deduction, even those who don’t know Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William Ramirez can logically conclude that he’s gifted with a golden touch.
But as the country basks in triumph over its finest performance in the just-concluded Olympics in nearly a century of participation, Ramirez would rather share the credit and describe the success with utter humility.
“I call it serendipity,’’ said Ramirez after Team Philippines closed out a remarkable campaign in the Tokyo Olympics with a first-ever Games gold medal courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz plus two silvers and a bronze from the national boxers.
“As a Filipino sports leader in a developing country, we cannot really compare to those western countries that are leading in global sports. So it was really a grateful feeling that our athletes delivered,’’ said Ramirez.
Not chump change
Since the current PSC board took over in 2016, the government has shelled out P2.7 billion from the taxes of the Filipino people to support all the athletes in the national team across 61 sports. The PSC allocated P200 million for the preparation and competition of Team Philippines in Tokyo.
“All I want is to celebrate and have fun with our success in Tokyo,’’ said Ramirez. “I think the Filipino people deserve to celebrate the success of our athletes because it was the Filipino people’s money that was spent for all these athletes since they joined the Philippine team.”
Ramirez was the country’s sports czar in two historic overall titles for Team Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games, in 2005 and 2019, and was also at the helm of the PSC when the nation celebrated a pair of fantastic finishes in the 2006 and 2018 Asian Games with four gold medals each.
He began weaving his magic while serving as PSC chief during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2005 to 2009, before the educator and former college basketball coach from Davao City was reappointed to lead the agency from 2016 under President Duterte.
Ramirez expressed his gratitude to the partners of the PSC—the Executive Office, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.—and was likewise thankful to private sponsors and partners which joined hands with the government to achieve a united goal.
Feet on the ground
But the PSC has been mostly grateful to the national athletes and recognized the role of their parents and families. The agency also acknowledged the support system of the athletes—coaches, trainers and the sports science teams behind them.
“You all deserve our gratitude, admiration and respect. We thank those who worked to qualify, those who fought with golden determination, as much as those who in the end brought us pride and honor with their victories,’’ said the PSC in a statement.
Yet for all these milestones and accomplishments, Ramirez remains humble and self-effacing.
“International sports belong to the athletes, the NSAs (national sports associations), the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) and it also belongs to the Filipino people because of the expenditures,’’ said Ramirez.
“I’m just part of the journey, I’m just lucky,’’ added Ramirez.
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