AN additional P1 million in cash incentives awaits the gold medal winners in the 19th Asian Games scheduled Sept. 23-Oct. 8 in Hangzhou, China.
This was guaranteed by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino during the send-off ceremony for the Filipino athletes at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
With the additional cash incentives, Tolentino hopes the Filipinos athletes will be motivated to work even harder to bring honors to the country during the quadrennial competition considered as the “Olympics of Asia.”
“It will be a big challenge for us, but I believe we can do it. Our athletes will try to beat the previous record from the last Asian Games,” said Tolentino during the send-off ceremony also attended by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard Bachmann, Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo and Senate Committee on Sports chairman Bong Go.
Tolentino said the additional incentive from the POC will be apart from the cash bonus that Asian Games medalists will get from the PSC through the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Under the law, Asian Games gold medalists will get P2 million.
The silver medalists, on the other hand, will receive P1 million and bronze medalist will earn P400,000.
Tolentino and Bachmann are both pinning their hopes on Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), world No. 2 and Asian champion EJ Obiena (pole vault), Fil-Canadian Kayla Sanchez (swimming) and Tokyo medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial (boxing).
Last 2018, the Philippines brought home four golds, two silvers and 15 bronzes in the 18th Asian Games held in Palembang, Indonesia.
Tolentino, however, noted that only 10 of the Palembang medalists are returnng to compete this year.
Notably absent in the Hangzhou-bound Philippine delegation is two-time world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo.
Yulo begged off from participating in the Asian Gamesas it will coincide with the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium — a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Meanwhile, Sen. Go wished the athletes good luck in their campaign in Hangzhou.
“This momentous occasion is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our athletes, their coaches and everyone who has been part of their journey towards greatness,” said Go, who assured athletes and officials for additional government support, especially to the differently-abled athletes seeing action in the 4th Asian Para Games happening on Oct. 22-28 also in Hangzhou.
The para team collected 10 golds, eight silvers and 11 bronzes in 2018.