More than 500 national athletes took time out from their SEA Games buildup yesterday to express their gratitude to President Duterte for his all-out support for their needs.
“Thank you Tatay Digong! Thank you President (Rodrigo) Duterte!” chorused by athletes who gathered for the National Team General Assembly at Philsports Arena in Pasig City organized by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea joined the gathering along with PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez and Commissioners Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin, Charles Maxey, and Ramon Fernandez around.
In his speech, Medialdea said that he cancelled his official trip for the sake of the national athletes.
“I just want to relay to you the support of our President. He is behind you para sa (laban sa) SEAG!,” he said.
The Executive Secretary enjoined the athletes to focus on their training and the forthcoming SEAG competitions amidst the leadership squabble for the Philippine Olympic Committee presidency.
“Ilayo natin lahat sa mga problema ang lahat ng ating gagawin. Laro lang tayo. Let us win as one and patuloy natin itaguyod and ating bansa sa larangan ng sports,” said Medialdea
Ramirez welcomed the crowd, thanking Medialdea for joining the athletes, saying that “it means a lot to feel and see the government’s care for sports.”
He added that it is the first time that a presidential executive secretary joined such an activity of the agency.
Track and field legend Elma Muros-Posadas and Olympic silver medalist Onyok Velasco were also present. Both encouraged athletes to give their best with Muros-Posadas also reminding the athletes how lucky they are to have a president who supports sports.
“Napakapalad ninyo kasi si presidente 100% ang suporta. Huwag ninyo pansinin ang problema. Huwag niyo isipin ang gulo. Focus tayo sa laban. Andito tayo sa bansa natin kaya lalong galingan natin. Patay kung patayan. Gigil sa kalaban wag sa opisyal,” exclaimed the athletics star.
Velasco for his part highlighted the importance of discipline in the success of an athlete. He recalled his training days citing time when they would cut routes on their daily runs, pass by water source to pretend being sweaty and acting as if they ran the whole leg. “Hindi yung coach ninyo ang na-short ninyo kundi ang sarili ninyo. Makikita sa sparring kinakapos kayo. Importante ang disiplina.”
The athletes also sat through a briefing on anti-doping pointers from PHINADO head Dr. Alejandro Pineda and a short fashion show presenting the national team training uniform and official parade uniform for the SEAG designed by well-known fashion icon Francis Libiran.