THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by Chairman Richard Bachman, urged the Filipino athletes vying in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China “to do their best and bring honors to the country.”
In his speech before more than 300 athletes and officials during the send-off ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Bachmann stressed that the athletes carry with them the aspirations and ambitions of the entire nation as they compete in the Asian Games.
“As we send out Team Philippines, we are not just sending a team. We are sending the embodiment of our nation’s hopes and dreams. Our athletes carry with them the aspirations of millions of Filipinos. Kayo ang buhay na patunay na ang bawat pangarap ay natutupad sa sipag, dedication, at perseverance,” said Bachmann, who was appointed by President Marcos as the 12th chairman of the government sports agency in December, 2022.
“The entire Philippines stands beside you, cheering you on every step of the way. Have faith in yourself, trust in your training, and never forget the values that define our nation’s excellence, resilience and the Filipino spirits. Bring up the gold, but more importantly, bring up the pride and the unity that you have fostered among us all,” added Bachmann.
Joining him during the send-off ceremony were Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philippine Paralympic Committee President Michael Barredo, Senate Committee on Sports Chairman Sen. Bong Go and PSC commissioners Olivia “Bong” Coo, Fritz Gaston, Walter Torres and Edward Hayco.
Bachman also welcomed the announcement of Tolentino that the POC is giving an additional P1 million cash bonus to the Filipino athletes who will strike gold in Hangzhou.
The POC bonus is an addition to the cash incentives that the Filipino winners will receive under the law.
Based on the Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, a total of P2 million will be given to the gold medalist, P1 million to the silver medalist and P400,000 to the bronze medalist.
“It will be a big challenge for us, but I believe it’s achievable. We will try to beat the previous record from the last Asian Games,kahit kulang tayo sa elite athletes,” said Tolentino.
“I hope the cash bonuses will motivate our national athletes to work even harder and perform better in the Asian Games,” added Tolentino, saying the POC is still deciding on the availability of funds for silver and bronze medalists.
Tolentino also appointed world No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who clinched silver behind Swede star Armand Duplantis in the Diamond League final in Oregon the other day, and 2018 Asian Games skateboard gold winner Margielyn Didal as the country’s flag-bearers during the traditional parade of nations.
Although the country will be without world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo, who has skipped Hangzhou for the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium late this month, Tolentino said there are other athletes ready to step up. there are those to count on.
Aside from Obiena and Didal, Tolentino and Bachman are pinning their hopes on Tokyo Olympics weightlifting gold winner Hidilyn Diaz, Tokyo boxing medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial, Fil-Canadian swimmer Kayla Sanchez and the star-studded Gilas Pilipinas and Women’s Football World Cup heroes.
The Philippines is sending a total of 396 athletes competing in 40 sports in the Asian Games scheduled on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.
The Asian Para Games, on the other hand, is slated on Oct. 22 to 28.