- Duterte urged athletes who would represent the country on the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics to try their best and make the most out of the opportunity
- He also increased the athletes’ and coaches’ allowance from $1,000 to $3,000 and $3,000 to $5,000 respectively
- The president vowed to end corruption to further fund the sports industry
President Rodrigo Duterte did not forget to cheer on the country’s athletes before they head off to the Rio Olympics as he led the send-off on Monday, July 18, at the Malacañang Palace.
The head of the state encouraged them to exhibit the best of their efforts on their respective sports, as it was a very rare opportunity for them to be able to represent the country in the field they excel. Duterte added that they were chosen instead of the hundred millions of Filipinos to carry the colors of the Philippine flag.
Following several athletes who pulled out from the games, the president advised them to not fear the Zika Virus.
Duterte further boosted their morale by informing them of a triple increase on their allowance; from $1,000 per athlete to $3,000 – amounting to at least Php 140,158.50 in sum. The coaches also received a raise from their initial $3,000 allowance turning into $5,000 – reaching Php 233,640 when converted.
As for those who could bring home the Philippines’ first Olympic gold, the president teased about presenting them with an island.
However, the president noted regrettably how the government lacks funds to support the sporting realm further. Duterte said that they could not finance on building up potential athletes and related this problem to a lack of nutrition.
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He also shared that if he would only manage to collect at least Php 300M that the country loses in all ports daily, he would have enough to put an end to the insufficient funding for the athletes. Despite the troubles his administration is facing, the president assured them of taking back what was rightfully for the people and use it to finance the athletes.
Consisting the Philippine delegation to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are Hidilyn Diaz (women’s weightlifting), Nestor Colonia (men’s weightlifting), Kirstie Alora (women’s taekwondo), Eric Cray (men’s 400-meter hurdles), Ian Lariba (women’s table tennis), Marestella Torres-Sunang (women’s long jump), Miguel Tabuena (men’s golf), Mary Joy Tabal (women’s marathon), Rogen Ladon and Charley Suarez (men’s boxing), and Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi (swimming).
The Olympic Games is one of the biggest multi-sporting events. This year’s Rio Summer Olympics would open on Friday, August 5 and end on Sunday, August 21 at Rio De Janeiro. - Kami Media