MANILA, Philippines -- After Eumir Marcial and Hidilyn Diaz, two more world-class Filipino athletes made courtesy calls to MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, armed with their gold mdeals.
Carlos Edriel "Caloy" Yulo won the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Germany, and Nesthy Petecio followed it up by ruling the featherweight division of the 2019 AIBA Women's Boxing World Championships.
For their triumphs, MVPSF gave P1 million each to Yulo and Petecio, along with an iPhone from Smart Communications, Inc.
Yulo, who arrived to a hero's welcome, expressed his gratitude to MVPSF for helping fund his training in Japan. Because of his success, even his siblings might get their opportunities as well.
"We'd like to meet his family," said Pangilinan. "Caloy said he had two siblings, 9 and 11, who were also into gymnastics so maybe we can help them out because this sport really fits our physique."
"We're very happy seeing that the programs we are supporting are bearing fruit. You could see the talent that our Filipino athletes have and that they only need the proper training," said MVPSF president Al Panlilio.
"(Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president) Cynthia Carreon approached us two years ago and she vouched for Caloy. He needed to train in Japan because, from my understanding, that’s the best place to go to and that training program has developed him even more and winning the gold is a testament to that," he added.
Petecio, on the other end, had to climb all the way from the Round of 64 to make her dream a reality. After frustrations stemming from an early and undeserved exit in the last Asian Games, Petecio was driven to perform better in the world championships in Russia this year.
She took down opponent after opponent and arranged a duel against a hometown bet in the gold medal match. This time Petecio got the nod of the judges as she became only the second Filipina to win it all after Josie Gabuco in 2012.
"I was worried about fighting a Russian in the gold medal match but I focused on what I needed to do to win," said Petecio. "It was a dream come true for me because winning in the World Championships was really my goal."
"We'll take it step by step now starting with our preparations for the Southeast Asia Games and then the Olympic qualifiers after," she added.
Panlilio reiterated that MVPSF will continue to support local talents in their quest for the first Olympic gold medal of the Philippines.
"We have a male gymnast and a female boxing champion," said Panlilio. "I hope this inspires younger athletes out there to chase their dreams and maximize their talent."
"Our support is gender-agnostic and it is not limited to select sports either. We also helped Margie Didal and skateboarding," he added. "We can't support everybody because we also have limited resources but we’ll continue to invest on Filipino athletes."
"Sports is all about finding heroes," said Pangilinan. "Now, we have a heroine in Nesthy and a hero in Caloy."
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