Figure skater Michael Martinez
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang hopes that Michael Martinez will now get more financial backing especially from the private sector following the Filipino skater’s stint in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“We hope the groundswell of support generated by Michael Martinez's stellar performance in the Sochi Winter Olympics will translate into tangible support that will provide propulsion for him to qualify anew and perform even better in the 2018 games,” said Sec. Herminio Coloma, Presidential Communications Operations Office secretary, in a statement.
Coloma said Martinez’s story proves that there is a lot more to do when it comes to the allocation of funds to deserving athletes.
He added that “strong private sector support” is also essential to develop more world class athletes.
“This is an eye opener for our sports authorities in selecting and prioritizing resource allocation to events where outstanding Filipinos can excel, win medals and bring honor to the country. Strong private sector support is also needed to augment government resources for sports development," said Coloma.
The government was at the receiving end of criticisms after reports alleged that it failed to extend financial support to Martinez while the skater was bidding for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
This, however, was denied by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Richie Garcia. Garcia stressed that they gave Martinez $7,200, which was coursed through the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“We have 820 athletes na inaalagaan sa PSC, it's not logical na itong isang atleta sa Olympics hindi pa namin matulungan,” said Garcia in an interview on dzMM on Friday.
Garcia added that Shoe Mart (SM), Martinez's major sponsor shouldered most of the skater's training expenses.
He also assured that the PSC is ready to help, provided that the request for funds will go through the Philippine Skating Union (PhSU), which is recognized by the POC.
“We assured na kung anong kailangan niya sa mga susunod na tournaments or events [ay ibibigay]. All they need is to ask the NSA (National Sports Association) to write us a letter and we will be ready to support,” said Garcia.