By Waylon Galvez
Olympian Hidilyn Diaz has received financial support from the MVP Sports Foundation to the tune of P1.5 million as part of her buildup for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
MVPSF president Al Panlilio said they understand the struggles of Diaz, silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, due to the extended time preparing for the 2020 edition of the meet so they provided her team additional funding.
“It was due to these unforeseen circumstances,” Panlilio, also the president of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Meralco Bolts representative to the PBA Board, said Friday.
“We at MVPSF decided that it was best to realign our support to cover Hidilyn’s living expenses such as food and rent as she continues to remain focused towards her goal of winning the first Olympic gold medal for our country in her fourth time to qualify for the Olympics,” he added.
Panlilio said that through the orders of MVPSF chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, looking after the welfare of Diaz and other national team athletes is their priority.
Members of Team Diaz include Chinese mentor Kaiwen Gao, strengthening/conditioning mentor Julius Naranjo and therapist Belen Bañas. They continue to stay in training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Our chairman Manny V. Pangilinan deeply cares about all of the athletes under the MVPSF banner and we’re doing our best to help take care of their needs during this difficult time,” he said.
“We don’t want Hidilyn to worry about her day-to-day needs, so she could pour in all her focus on training and bringing home that elusive Olympic gold medal,” Panlilio said.
Diaz recently won the Eleiko Email International Lifters Tournament, an online competition.
For her part, Diaz said she is thankful to the support of the MVPSF, which has been supporting her even before the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Budget yun for this year for competitions and trainings pero dahil sa COVID-19 nagbago po ng priority ngayon. Syempre kasi wala ng laro at kailangan ko din po talaga ng support kasi moved ang Olympics next year,” said Diaz in a message.
“Sobrang thankful ako sa MVPSF for being there lalo last year down na down ako then this year din na-move ang Olympics, nandiyan pa rin sila. Parang sa hirap at ginhawa nandiyan sila for the Filipino athletes, they help Filipino athletes in any way,” she added.
Aside from Diaz, other Filpino athletes bound to the Olympics supported by the MVPSF include gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.