The Philippine Sports Commission has already identified the 25 athletes from 10 sports who will undergo special training in the country’s long-term preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Although PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez refused to name the athletes who will get special funding, he believes they have what it takes to end the country’s long search for an Olympic gold.
“Can be in judo, can be in weightlifting,” was all Ramirez could say in relation to potential gold-medal winners in the Tokyo Games.
Rio Games silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz is among the athletes being eyed to represent the country in the quadrennial meet.
The pride of Zamboanga City proved she can still compete against the best in the world after winning a bronze in the recent World Championship.
Next year’s Asian Games in Indonesia is also part of the country’s Olympic preparations, with the Philippines hoping to eclipse its previous performance during the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea.
BMX rider Daniel Caluag delivered the lone gold in that meet, apart from three silver and 11 bronze medals from five other sports.
“This is my vision. 2018 Asian Games, we will get medals,” said Ramirez.
“In spite of our problems, we can still perform not only in the Asian Games, but also in the Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games,” he added.
Commissioners from the government sports agency had already met with different National Sports Association heads early this month to tackle their respective programs for next year, with focus mainly on their Asian Games preparations.
Some NSAs have also proposed foreign trainings and exposures.
Athletes and coaches are currently on holiday break and will resume training probably next week.