Hidilyn Diaz gives us a peek at troubles of top athletes over funding

June 6, 2019 - 6:52 PM

The instance of champion weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz asking for funds recalled the prevailing issue of the government’s lack of financial support when it comes to sports development.

Two days ago, the athlete shared an Instagram Story that called for “sponsorship” from private companies as she trains for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Is it okay to ask sponsorship sa mga private companies towards Tokyo 2020? Hirap na hirap na ako, I need financial support,” she wrote.

“Sa tingin niyo okay lang kaya, nahihiya kasi ako pero try ko kapalan mukha ko para sa minimithi kong pangarap para sa atin bansa na maiuwi ang Gold Medal sa Olympics,” Diaz continued.

The Philippine Sports Commission immediately responded to her post and said that it has not been remiss in providing financial support to her endeavor.

“The government has been very supportive,” PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez said in an interview before.

He added that Diaz has one of the highest allowances among national athletes and cited that she is also supported by the Philippine Air Force as an enlisted personnel.

“I do not think the government was remiss of its support to Hidilyn. Despite what it seems, we at the PSC choose to see her for what she is, a champion we will support on her dream to achieve more,” the statement of PSC reads.

Latest reports indicate that Ramirez has already met with the Rio Olympics Silver medalist to settle the issue.

The sports agency said that it “approved two more requests for assistance” to fund Diaz’s training in China.

Meanwhile, the whole matter has prompted some Filipinos to share their observation on the state of national athletes when it comes to being financially supported by the government.

The struggle 

Hidilyn Diaz was not the first national athlete to have cited the government’s lack of financial support when it comes to sports development.

Last March, two members of the Philippine Paralympic swimming team revealed that they have not yet received any allowance from the government after joining the national training pool in 2017.

Team coaches Tony Ong and Marjorie Palumbari shared that the athletes were recommended to the sports agency but failed to receive funds.

Michael Martinez
Figure skater Michael Martinez doing a routine. (The STAR/File photo)

Olympian figure skater Michael Martinez also suffered from lack of financial support when he initially prepared for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

This prompted his mother to write a letter to then-President Benigno Aquino III.

In a 2012 interview, the Team Philippines chief of mission to the 2012 London Olympics shared that “sports is not just the top priority of the government.”

“Funding is a major problem. But let’s face it. Sports is not just a top priority with the government, so we can’t really expect all-out support,” Manny Lopez said.

A special report published by GMA News Online in 2015 revealed that the Philippines lags behind other neighboring countries when it comes to funding national athletes.

Thailand and Singapore have respectively allocated an equivalent of P14.37 billion and P7.2 billion for their sports programs in 2011.

The Philippines, meanwhile, has only allocated P962 million in the same year.

Athletes can ask for financial assistance from private businessmen to compensate for the lack of funds, said Danny Francisco, the former Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines secretary-general. — Featured video by Interaksyon/Uela Altar-Badayos