Top-tier PH athletes should get Olympic-like treatment, says Gaston
Top-level Filipino athletes across all sports should be cuddled in the same manner as the nation’s Olympians.
“Elite athletes should be given full support where they can compete for medals at the highest level. In other words, they have to be given the training, equipment and exposure at the Olympic level,” said new commissioner Fritz Gaston of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Gaston got his appointment papers from President Marcos recently, finally completing the five-man PSC board headed by Chair Dickie Bachmann.
Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo has the full backing of the government sports agency in her bid to claim another victory for the country in the weightlifting competitions of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Filipino gymnastics star Carlos Yulo and world No. 3 pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena have been afforded the same treatment with high hopes that they could translate the support to an Olympic podium performance.
Yulo has been neck-deep in his preparations to qualify to Paris while training in Japan, with Obiena, who is based in Italy, consistently competing against the world’s best in Europe.
Gaston, a former commissioner of the Games and Amusements Board and national women’s basketball coach, believes promising athletes from other sports can blossom into their maximum potential given the necessary guidance and backing.
The qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Paris Summer Games are now in full swing with over a hundred Filipino national athletes from various sports aiming to secure those Olympic spots before the qualifying deadline in June next year.
“We hope to have as many Filipino athletes as we can in the Olympics,” said Gaston, who coached the Ateneo Blue Eagles during their 1988 UAAP title after playing for seven seasons in the Philippine Basketball Association.
The French capital will host the quadrennial global Games from July 26 to Aug. 11 with 329 gold medals at stake in 32 sports.