PHILIPPINE Sports Commission Chair Noli Eala will rely on Filipino world-beaters like Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, world champion gymnast Caloy Yulo and World Championship bronze winner EJ Obiena to rally the country and the private sector for more funding in sustaining the growth gained by the emergence of these sporting heroes.
“This is exactly the kind of momentum we need in Philippine sports,” said Mr. Eala during a courtesy call by Mr. Obiena at the agency’s Malate, Manila office. “They will provide us with an impetus to really look for more support for Philippine sports.”
“These are the people that are now faces of Philippine sports that I think we should rally around including the private sector,” he added.
Mr. Eala also mentioned US Juniors Open singles champion Alex Eala, Fil-Olympic swimming bronze medalist Kayla Sanchez, World Games karate gold medalist Junna Tsukii, the world class Filipino boxers as the other rallying points to attract more support.
Mr. Eala stressed that while government is fully supporting these super athletes, they still would need help.
“This is where the private sector comes in. Of course, the government is fully behind them,” said Mr. Eala.
Mr. Eala also said he has talked to Mr. Obiena, who was accompanied by parents Jeannette and Emerson Obiena and German girlfriend Caroline Joyeux, on the possibility of transferring of his training technology to the local coaches and athletes.
“We also asked him (Mr. Obiena) what kind of training he is doing and how we can transfer technology here in the Philippines including some opportunities for our other athletes to be with him,” said Mr. Eala.
For Mr. Obiena, he’s using his much-needed three-week vacation as officially the start of his road to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“(Coach) Vitaly (Petrov) said this is my last time I’ll be going here or spending a time off from my sport before Paris because next year, there’s going to be a lot of championships for me,” he said.
Among the events that Mr. Obiena is scheduled to see action next year are the Asian Indoor, Asian Games, Asian Championships, Southeast Asian Games and the World Championships. — Joey Villar