The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will form a select squad of athletes from various sports that will serve as the country’s backbone in its pursuit of medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Twenty to twenty-five athletes are being eyed for inclusion in the elite cast that the PSC will finance in the runup to the Tokyo Games with more than ample funding to be earmarked for the training and participation in overseas events.
Commissioner Mon Fernandez said Fil-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, who has won three straight Southeast Asian Games gold medals, is a strong candidate to earn a spot on the roster of athletes.
Of course, boxing will also be given several berths owing to its storied record in the Olympics.
“A few fighters (boxers) will be taken in,” said Fernandez.
The Philippines has never won an Olympic gold although it came tantalizingly close to winning one thrice, in 1964 (boxing), 1996 (boxing) and in 2016 (weightlifting).
Meanwhile, the PSC Board said several requests by national sports associations for financial assistance for the purpose of holding local tournaments have been denied.
Commissioner Charles Maxey revealed that the PSC’s focus is on the country’s preparation for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia with the Tokyo Olympics as the ultimate goal.
“The PSC is not prioritizing it (local tournaments) because our thrust is on the Asian Games,” said Maxey.