By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
It’s Christmas in September for Tokyo Games heroes, and even for the non-medalists of Team Philippines.
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who delivered a Herculean effort that ended the country’s wait for an Olympic gold medal, received another cash bonanza courtesy of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
No less than POC President and Tagaytay Rep. Bambol Tolentino handed the P3 million incentive to Diaz during POC’s General Assembly in Tagaytay City yesterday.
Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam were given P2 million for their silver-medal accomplishments while Eumir Marcial, a pro boxer, received P1 million for his bronze-medal feat.
The 15 non-medalists in Tokyo were also given P500,000 bonus through the generosity of the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation.
They were Elreen Ando, Irish Magno, EJ Obiena, Kristina Knott, Yuka Saso, Juvic Pagunsan, Bianca Pagdanganan, Margielyn Didal, Jayson Valdez, Kurt Barbosa, Remedy Rule, Luke Gebbie, Cris Nievarez, Carlos Yulo and Kiyomi Watanabe.
“In behalf of all Filipino athletes na naglaro sa Tokyo Olympics, grateful po kami sa suportang ibinigay ninyo sa amin,” said Diaz during the ceremony streamed online for non-attendees of the assembly.
The 19-man PH team that competed in the Tokyo Games was the most successful delegation in history after bagging the first Olympic gold medal and also winning the most number of medals with four.