A warm welcome from the Philippine Sports Commission awaited the national weightlifting and fencing teams upon their return from their respective stellar qualifying tournaments in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Thursday evening.
“Despite the imposed lockdowns and curfews in Metro Manila, we wanted to honor our athletes who made the country proud, within boundaries of the safety protocols of course,” shared PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez.
The sports chief wanted a bigger welcome for the athletes but mindful of the quarantine restrictions, arranged what they can within the guidelines. Very strict protocols are implemented at the airport being a port of entry, so the PSC team stationed themselves at the driveway of the quarantine hotel drop-off and check-in point.
After an astounding performance taking home two gold, six silver, and three bronze medals at the Asian Weightlifting Championships, winning women lifters are set to receive incentives under Republic Act No. 10699, or the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.”
Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz also formalized her fourth appearance in the Games by placing fourth in the 55kg category of the said competition. She became the seventh Filipino to qualify to Tokyo.
Her teammates Vanessa Sarno, Mary Flor Diaz, Elreen Ando, and Kristel Macrohon also gave admirable performances in the said competition — including a two-gold performance by Sarno.
The fencers, on the other hand, secured a bronze medal through Samantha Catantan at the women’s foil event of the Asian-Oceanian Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Uzbekistan.
She was joined by teammates Nathaniel Perez, Jylyn Nicanor, Noelito Jose, Hanniel Abella, and CJ Concepcion.
Prior to leaving for Tashkent, PSC approved granting of assistance of over Php 4.9 million pesos for airfare, hotel accommodation, allowances, and other travel expenses of the weightlifting team.
The PSC also approved P1.2-million financial assistance for the fencing nationals to cover expenses for their competitions.