FUNDS from the government and private sectors as well as program continuity are needed for the Philippines to better its Tokyo Olympic performance come the 2024 Paris Games, according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Hopefully, God willing, as long as we continue with the program, with the NSAs (national sports associations) and POC and the national government and private sectors, we can do this,” said Tolentino in a press conference on Sunday.
The government, through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), spent more than P2 billion for the athletes and coaches preparation for this past Olympic cycle (2016-2021), with private sectors supporting the NSAs and athletes with more funds.
With this, the Philippines managed to put up its best medal haul since joining the Olympiad in 1924. The country ended its 97-year gold medal drought in Tokyo after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz ruled the women’s 55-kilogram class.
Boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial followed suit, winning a silver in the women’s featherweight division, silver in men’s flyweight and bronze in the men’s middleweight class, respectively, for a total of four medals.
This four-medal finish eclipsed the Philippines’ previous best of three medals, all bronze in color, at the 1932 Olympiad in Los Angeles.
With its 1-gold, 2-silver and 1-bronze performance, the Philippines also finished 50th overall, 10th among Asian Countries and first among Southeast Asian countries in the Olympiad.
“After 97 years, we finally broke the drought. And as long as our program and support continue, then we can repeat it in Paris. We might even surpass it with the talents we have.”
The Philippines sent a total of 19 athletes across 11 sports of 27 events in Tokyo.
These athletes showed promise and had themselves a rather respectable finish in Tokyo, especially Yulo, Ando and Gebbie, who did not make the podium but managed to break previous national records in Tokyo. (N.V.C. Masoy, TMT)