MANILA – Two days after the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez remains in awe of what the Philippine team has done in the athletic meet.
The Nationals won four medals this year, including the country's first-ever gold medal courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the most a Philippine team has ever amassed in a single Olympic.
The Philippines also finished as the top-performing Southeast Asian nation, thanks to silvers from boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam with fellow pug Eumir Marcial completing the job with his bronze medal.
Diaz, who had to leave Tokyo quickly due to the coronavirus disease 2019 protocols set for the games, reunited with her fellow medalists on Tuesday with Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino virtually during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
"I'm speechless except we have to celebrate the successful campaign in Tokyo," said Ramirez, who was also in the Japanese capital during the first few days but had to fly back to the Philippines before the closing ceremonies to attend to his agency's matters.
He lauded the four Olympic medalists for becoming sources of good news amid the pandemic, which has set many Filipinos in a state of sadness and even fear.
"I felt that these athletes inspire the country and our youth to become better students and athletes for the whole country," he said.
Following this historic run, Ramirez said it would not anymore be hard to fund the national athletes in their quest to rack up more medals for the country.
"With our success in the Tokyo Olympics, hindi na mahirap kumbinsihin ang ating mga congressmen at senador (it would not be hard anymore to convince the congressmen and the senators) to sustain our momentum after the Tokyo Olympics," he said.
A PHP2 billion budget had been set for the Tokyo Olympians, and with the huge medal haul, it was all worth every peso. (PNA)