Rio silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz gets P2M from Duterte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 August)  –Rio Olympics silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz of Zamboanga City received an additional P2 million from President Rodrigo Duterte on top of her P5 million cash incentive from the government.

Duterte, in a press conference on Thursday night at the Malacanãng of the South, said the cash incentive from the government was not even enough for the several years of training she had to undergo.

“Maybe because I was overjoyed and the distinct honor that she brought home. Now, the other countries would look at us at least as a contender because we can spring a miracle in any day, in any of the games that are coming our way in the future,”he said.

He added he would like to encourage more young Filipino athletes to try outs sports that “after a long and hard training, they can get something out of their effort.”

Duterte also disclosed plans of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to open a Philippine Sports Institute, which he said is the “missing link,” to encourage more young Filipinos to test the waters in sports.

PSC Commissioner Butch Ramirez said the plan is anchored on the government’s thrust for a shift to a federal form of government and their push for genuine sports program at the end of the Duterte administration.

He explained that they plan of putting up training hubs in the provinces – for example, archery in Dumaguete, weightlifting in Zamboanga City, and swimming in Davao City – so that more budding athletes can be trained and they will no longer have to travel to Manila.

Ramirez is eyeing to have the institute realized before Christmas of this year while noting that the executive department is already crafting an executive order for it.

He added the PSC is planning to expose Filipino athletes with great potentials to an international training.

He said they are preparing this early for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

He said they would like to take advantage of the international competitions like the South East Asian Games in 2017 and 2019 in Malaysia and the Philippines, respectively, and Asean Games in Indonesia in 2018 to expose Filipino talents in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)