Asian weightlifting champion Hidilyn Diaz is set to receive an initial amount worth P2 million to fund her training, based on a deal agreed upon by national sports officials and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. on Thursday.
Diaz is looking to perform well in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, hoping to become the first Filipino ever to win a gold medal at the Games.
The memorandum of agreement was struck in the presence of Diaz, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, Phoenix president and CEO Dennis Uy, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, and signed at Malacañang.
"Ang PSC hindi nila kayang sagutin lahat kasi may ibang requirements sa pagti-training, sa mga coaches medyo mahal. Sabi ko, hanap ako ng mga kaibigan na pwedeng tumulong," Go said.
"After initial meetings kay Dennis at sa kaniyang abogado, pumayag naman silang tumulong sa pagti-training ni (Hidilyn).
"Malaki ang potensyal ng batang 'to. Sayang ang talento ni Hidilyn kung di natin bibigyan ng buong suporta."
Diaz, arguably the most accomplished national athlete the country has produced in the past few years, said she is thankful for the financial boost and acknowledged it was enough to get her through in her preparations for the Tokyo Games.
She earned a silver medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and bagged the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, besides other national and regional accolades.
The 28-year-old from Zamboanga has courted controversy, though, when she expressed a lack of government support as she trains for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a sense of frustration she voiced on social media last year.
Her name was also included in an alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, a diagram of which Malacañang released in May. Diaz denied such an accusation, while the Palace eventually cleared her of involvement.
Go said the government understood Diaz's dissatisfaction and the subsequent viral tirades.
"Sabi ko sa kanila, bukas ang tanggapan ko, tanggapan ni Pangulong Duterte sa anumang reklamo at kung paano kami makakatulong," Go said.
"Kung di niyo sasabihin sa amin, paano kami makakatulong?" — With reports from Arianne Merez and Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News
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