MANILA, Philippines -- The country's top sports leaders are determined to sustain the momentum gained by Filipino athletes after the Philippines' best ever showing in an Olympic Games.
Both Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino agree that as early as now, there should be a conscious effort to maintain and even expand the model that produced the country's first\-ever gold medal in the Summer Games.
Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history for the Philippines when she ruled the women's 55kg division in the Tokyo Olympics.
The PSC and the POC believe that financial assistance, combined with scientific training, are what they need to focus on in order to sustain the gains of Tokyo heading into the Paris Games in 2024.
Aside from Diaz's historic gold medal, Filipino athletes also brought home two silver medals from boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, and a bronze from Eumir Marcial. It was the best-ever Olympic performance by Team Philippines, surpassing a three-bronze haul during the 1932 Games in Los Angeles.
"We have to be serious if we would like to sustain the momentum (of the Tokyo Olympics)," said Ramirez.
"Hindi lang pera ang kailangan, but as a sports educator who have travelled in other parts of the world, it is really extremely important that we will provide cutting-edge sports sciences which we dreamed here in the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI)," he added.
Ramirez pointed out that athletes from China, the United States, and European countries have the benefit of "cutting-edge sports sciences." Some Filipino athletes also got to do things like this in the lead-up to Tokyo, but Ramirez said it wasn't enough.
"Sa akin hindi lang pera ang kailangan. The government, listening from the success of the Tokyo Games, must put up this cutting-edge sports science or putting science in our own training, kasi kung wala 'yan, mahirap i-achieve 'yung goal sa Paris, sa LA (1928), sa Brisbane (1932)," he insisted.
Tolentino agreed with his PSC counterpart, recalling a visit to a university in Tokyo that boasted of a complete sports science and medical facility.
He also made it clear that the government cannot do it alone and they will need the help of the private sector, and even the assistance of other national Olympic committees.
According to Tolentino, the POC is already discussing a program with its counterpart in Qatar, with a memorandum of agreement expected to be signed soon.
"Meron kaming naka-pending with the Qatar NOC na doon papadala 'yung ibang atleta for training na andun lahat 'yung sports medicine and sports facilities na high-tech," he said. "It's all free, parang exchange student, exchange athlete 'yun."
In line with this, Ramirez said the PSC is also set to discuss with the POC the next steps that they must take in order to sustain the 19-man Philippine team from Tokyo into the Paris Games.