Here’s What Our Future Filipino Olympians Actually Need

Here’s What Our Future Filipino Olympians Actually Need


Bringing the country its first multi-medal Olympics, it’s about time that we also start listening to the plea for funding of our Filipino Olympians.

Related: 3 Filipina Athletes Tell Their Stories Of Female Empowerment In Sports


Wherever your feet would take you here in the Philippines, you will always find a basketball, tennis court, or maybe a golf course if you happen to live nearby. From random streets of our local barangays to exclusive villages, there will always be a place for sports. Whether we learn sports in school, love it as a hobby, or simply emulating the same endurance, will, and strength that champions have, it seems like there’s a hidden athlete in all of us.

That’s why it’s no surprise why the Olympic games easily captured the interest of Filipinos, especially when a kababayan is set to compete. After being postponed in 2020 the much-awaited Tokyo Olympics was finally held and for the first time, our country sent the most number of athletes with a total count of 19 delegates where 10 among them are women. The 19 athletes are: pole vaulter EJ Obiena, 2016 Rio Olympic weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, World Champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, and Carlo Paalam. Asian Games gold medalists skateboarder Margielyn Didal, golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan are also part of the set. Weightlifter Elreen Ando, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, rower Cris Nievarez, shooter Jayson Valdez, men’s golf representative Juvic Pagunsan, sprinter Kristina Knott, and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, and the last wo to join the team, are swimmers Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie.

In the stadium of dreams as the world calls it, thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Philippines has competed in all of the Olympics’ editions ever since its debut in 1924 and through the years the country has earned a total of 10 Olympic medals but for almost a century, we had never taken hold of the elusive gold until our very own weightlifter, Hidilyn Diaz bagged the first one at Tokyo in a historic moment. Aside from Hidilyn, three more athletes brought honor for the Philippines with the first Filipina silver medalist in boxing, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam who also won silver, and Eumir Marcial who brought bronze making the Philippines number one in Southeast Asia when it comes to Olympic wins. – BP


Although the Olympics are the holy grail of sports, this achievement means more than just the medals and titles. When Diaz succeeded in her final lift, she uplifted our whole nation with her and when Petecio became the first Filipina boxing Olympian, it proves that fighting like a girl means competing like a champion. All these athletes became living proof that we can take up space where no Filipino has stood before, and their wins brought hope and inspiration during a time the country was in despair. Their narratives and names will forever be remembered but there is a part of their story that we should all be listening to as a nation.

The Republic Act of 10699 already guarantees cash incentives to Filipino medalists and an additional P10 million, P5 million, and P2 million respectively will be given to this year’s gold, silver, and bronze Olympians. Non-medalists will also be rewarded P500,000 each and from house and lots, condos to cars, private companies have also pledged to provide for the Olympians–racking up their prizes worth to millions. These are all well-deserved for our champions,

“…but through the years, sufficient funding and support in their training for these competitions has been their plea.”

Diaz had to personally call out for sponsorship from private companies to be able to afford the journey to the Tokyo Olympics. There was also no local live coverage in support of our athletes this year. To put a fight in global competition such as these, athletes need the best coaches and facilities they can get and because of the lack of sporting facilities and programs in the country, they are forced to be sent abroad for training which doesn’t come cheap. Most of our Filipino Olympians today, did not come from the elite class. They came from humble beginnings and only had the determination and courage to risk it all to achieve their dreams and give their families a better life.

Take for example, silver-medalist Carlo Paalam whose medal symbolizes his beginnings as a scavenger in the landfill areas of Cagayan de Oro and commonly finds scrap metals which he would sell to buy food for his family. Petecio will also be using her prizes to give back to her family and support her siblings, so they no longer have to experience the hardships she went through. And amidst all the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has also added, they fought hard physically and mentally to bring pride to the country.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has forever reshaped the history of the Philippines and even though the official Olympic flame has been put out, the support for our Filipino athletes and future ones must not come to an end. Sports are a powerful catalyst for change with this year’s wins being a testament that it can foster a stronger nation. So as our Filipino Olympians continue to keep the passion burning and waving our flag high for the next generation of champions, it is only rightfully so that we invest and stand by them from the very beginning.

This feature story on Filipino Olympians is also found in MEGA’s October issue now available in ReadlyMagzter, Press Reader and Zinio.

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