Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has become P7 million richer following her inspiring silver medal win at the Rio Olympics.
President Duterte has offered a surprise P2 million incentive to Diaz, on top of the P5 million offered by the government during her courtesy call in Davao City late Thursday night.
The President congratulated Diaz on her Olympic performance and promised to expand support for Filipino athletes, including the establishment of sports training facilities in the provinces.
“She got a P5 million prize and I just added another P2 million,” the President said in a news conference.
Duterte said he was “overjoyed” by the “distinct honor” Diaz has brought home. He admitted watching Diaz compete in the weightlifting event and was proud of her achievement.
“If we put just put in the discipline and a little help from the national government, we’d get miracles and surprises along the way,” the President said.
“Honor in sports is not easy to get by. Honor in sports is very hard,” he added.
Diaz went home last Thursday after bagging the silver medal in weightlifting at the Rio Olympics. The 25-year-old military airwoman won the country’s first Olympic medal in 20 years. She was accompanied by her parents and other sports officials during the meeting with the President.
Diaz, in the same press conference, thanked the President and other countrymen for supporting her medal quest in the Olympics.
The Olympian said she plans to build a weightlifting gym in her hometown of Zamboanga City to help train other potential athletes. “I plan to buy a piece of land beside our house to put up a gym,” she said in Filipino.
Meantime, the President said the training facilities planned in Negros and Zamboanga would not only scout the country’s best athletes but also train them for future international competitions.
“We would encourage our young children to train there for any discipline they want to take on,” the President said.
Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez said they plan to establish the first Institute of Sports in the country before Christmas. (GENALYN D. KABILING)