POC polishes Paris lure with more cash bonuses
This, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said, is how we value our athletes.
And by this, the Cavite representative in Congress referred to the additional cash rewards handed out to weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and her fellow Tokyo Olympics medal performers.
“We shower them with rewards for making the country proud,’’ said Tolentino during a POC general assembly (GA) on Wednesday.
It was one lavish showcase of bonus-giving. It was also a subtle reminder to those whose eyes are set on one particular sporting event: Paris 2024.
Even before the first athlete jumped into action in Tokyo, Tolentino had stubbornly insisted that the country’s wait for an Olympic gold medal would end in the Japanese capital—not as a culmination party, but the start of something big.
And Tolentino made sure the message in Diaz’s triumph would not be lost in the whirlwind of rewards: Olympic medals are no longer pipe dreams, they are prizes waiting for Filipino athletes to snatch them.
“Hidilyn’s message sends an inspiration to us all that the medals are within the reach of every athlete, given the outstanding support of the NSA (national sports association), the POC and government assistance,’’ said Tolentino.
And to further sharpen the hunger of national athletes salivating for Olympic glory in Paris, the POC handed out additional cash bonuses to Diaz, silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial of boxing as well as to the 15 other Olympians who saw action in Japan.
Diaz received an extra P3 million from the local Olympic body, Petecio and Paalam got P2 million each and Marcial P1 million, a duplicate of the added cash incentives shelled out by President Duterte.
All the other Tokyo Olympians who didn’t reach the medal podium were likewise blessed, earning P500,000 each courtesy of the POC and the MVP Sports Foundation.
“We have concluded the POC general assembly under a theme of festivity and gratitude. The GA is celebrated in a festive atmosphere in the presence of our Olympic medalists who were actually and physically handed their incentive checks from the POC,’’ said Tolentino.