By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Around 17 private companies have pledged their support to national athletes as the Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation was officially launched yesterday at the Century Park-Sheraton Hotel.
Dennis Uy, Phoenix Petroleum President and CEO and Presidential Adviser for Sports, will lead the organization whose main task is to help the country’s quest to win its first Olympic gold medal starting in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
“Our athletes represent the best of our people: the strongest, the fastest, the most resilient. Which is why we need to provide our support to fuel our athletes in their quest for glory,” said Uy.
The launching was graced by newly-elected Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas, POC chairman Bambol Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
“Sa huli, ang bida ay ang atleta at ang bansang Pilipinas,” Vargas added.
Among the initial donors are SM Investment Corp., Belle Corp., RFM Corp., Alaska Milk Corp., Tanduay Distillery, JG Summit Holdings Inc., Megawide Construction Corp., International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), San Miguel Corp., PLDT, UNILAB, Ulticon Builders Inc., Phoenix Petroleum, 2GO, Megaworld Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., and
Philippine International Air Terminal Corp (PIATCO).
Resources will be pooled to provide athletes with training equipment and facilities, coaching services and exposure to international competitions.
The non-profit organization will also provide education, housing and livelihood programs to top-flight athletes.
So far, 29 athletes from 14 sports are already being supported by the foundation including 2016 Rio Games silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting.
Among them are taekwondo Olympian Elaine Alora reigning Southeast Asian Games gold winners Eric Cray and Trenten Beram (athletics), Eumir Marcial (boxing), Kim Mangrobang (triathlon) and Kiyome Watanabe (judo).