MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is getting more than just the opportunity to have its athletes and coaches undergo extensive training in China starting this year.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia said the Chinese government has also offered to sell sports equipment to the PSC for a friendly price.
"Nothing in exchange except for our friendship," said Garcia, fresh from his visit to Beijing for a meeting with his counterparts.
Garcia said the Philippines was offered world-class sports equipment for something like 40 or 50 percent less than the prevailing market price.
"We were showed equipment for pole vault and high jump, including the landing pads. We also checked some weightlifting equipment," said Garcia.
He said the weightlifting equipment that would normally cost the PSC a million pesos is being offered for much less than that.
"What they use in China will only cost us P200,000 or P300,000. Now instead of one set, we can purchase two or three sets," said Garcia.
"And we can send them now to provinces," the PSC chief added.
It may sound bad news for the providers of sports equipment to the PSC but Garcia said if it means saving a lot of money then that’s what they’re going to do.
"Even the track oval is now more affordable. We used to pay P28 million for a track oval. And if we were to use track oval China used in 2008 Olympics it will only cost us P22 million."
"And it (price) may even go down," Garcia said.
The PSC chief hailed the harmonious relationship between the Philippines and China, particularly when it comes to sports development.
"Unless something happens in the relations between China and the Philippines, I'm sure this will continue for a number of years more. Renew na lang tayo ng renew," said Garcia.
During the recent trip to Beijing, the PSC sealed another agreement with the Chinese Sports Ministry regarding the sending of Filipino athletes and coaches there.
It’s been an old practice but this time, the Filipino athletes and coaches may stay in China for as long as one year.
"Our athletes will be analyzed, and hopefully they will be able to compete and give us a better chance in the next SEA Games or Asian Games," Garcia added.
"This is the cheaper way rather than dream of having all those structures built here because for us to do that it will run in the billions. At this cost, we will not go wrong," Garcia added.