What’s the price of striking gold in the Asian Games?
Right now, the pot stands at P3 million after Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino pledged an extra million on top of the bonuses prescribed by law.
“I hope this will motivate our athletes to work even harder and perform better in the Asian Games,’’ said Tolentino during Monday’s send-off ceremony held at Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
Republic Act No. 10699, or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, provides P2 million for gold performers in the Asian Games (Asiad) and P1 million for silver finishers. A bronze medal is worth P500,000.
A total of 396 athletes from 40 sports will compete in the 45-nation continental meet with pole vaulter EJ Obiena and skateboarder Margielyn Didal named as flag-bearers during the opening ceremony on Sept. 23 at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium.
Both Obiena and Didal are also prospective Asiad champions, along with weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, swimmer Kayla Sanchez and boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial.
The country’s para athletes who will see action in the 12th Asian Para Games on Oct. 22 to Oct. 28, also in Hangzhou, were also invited to the send-off.
Better than 4
While Obiena is the world’s No. 2 vaulter and multiple medal winner on the international stage, Didal grabbed one of the four gold medals that the country brought home from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
“We will try to beat the previous record last time, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us,’’ said Tolentino.
Team Philippines placed 18th overall with 21 medals back in 2018, just a medal short of Singapore’s 22 podium finishes that were likewise highlighted by four golds.
Several sports will utilize the Asian Games as a springboard to next year’s Paris Olympics with boxing and medal-rich disciplines aquatics and athletics among them.
“We have to beat the Indonesia (2018) record while looking to perform with the best of our abilities in all qualifying events [during the Asian Games] for Paris Olympics,’’ added Tolentino. INQ
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