By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez is convinced the 19-man Team Philippines has a pretty good chance of winning the country’s first Olympic gold in the Tokyo Games.
“Yes, we have a strong chance,” said Ramirez during PSC Hour program of Radyo Pilipinas Dos last Friday. “Naniniwala akong may medalya tayo sa Tokyo Olympics. Malamang meron tayong gold, silver at bronze medal.”
The 17-day Tokyo Games will start on July 23 in various ultra modern facilities in the Japanese capital.
Ramirez believed that even first-timers could pull off surprises in the Games as the medal chances of athletes depend on “talent, coaching, exposure and serendipity.”
The two-time PSC chief said the 19 Filipino athletes who qualified have been working hard along with their coaches.
Ramirez said their sacrifices and dedication to make it to the grandest stage in sports is not an overnight success.
“Yung makarating ka lang ng Olympics, parang nanalo ka na rin ng gold. It’s priceless to be in an international competition lalo na sa Olympics,” he said.
According to Ramirez, the PSC has spent around P2 billion for tournament exposures and training of national athletes to qualify and prepare for the Olympics.
He also said the country’s Olympic campaign can became a uniting factor for the country, saying: “Sana makatulong sa environment ng Pilipinas. Hopefully, we can unite them. Sana magkaisa ang mga Pilipino dahil sa mga atleta.”
This year’s delegation is the second-biggest sent by the country since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Members of Team PH are Ernest John Obiena (athletics), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Eumir Felix Marcial (boxing), Irish Magno (boxing), Nesthy Petecio (boxing), Carlo Paalam (boxing), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), Cris Nievarez (rowing), Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo), Margielyn Didal (skateboarding), Elreen Ando (weightlifting), Jayson Valdez (shooting), Juvic Pagunsan (golf), Kiyomi Watanabe (judo), Kristina Knott (athletics), Yuka Saso (golf), Bianca Pagdanganan (golf), Luke Gebbie (swimming) and Remedy Rule (swimming).
Ramirez is hoping that this Olympic campaign can become a uniting factor for the country, “sana makatulong sa environment ng Pilipinas. Hopefully, we can unite them. Sana magkaisa ang mga Pilipino dahil sa mga atleta.”