Achieving Olympic glory has been an elusive dream that Philippines sports continues to chase. Since our debut in 1924, the country has only been able to bag a total of ten medals (zero in gold, three in silver, and seven in bronze). While there has consistently been a plethora of challenges that has hampered many of our world-class caliber athletes to participate in international competition, lack of funding has always been cited as a principal issue. However, this is about to change, specifically for more than a handful of the country’s finest in their respective fields.
The launch of Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation, Inc. aims to fill in that financial gap that has been sorely lacking in the talent development in our local landscape. According to an article from PhilStar, the foundation’s executive director Chito Salud notes that a budget worth P1-billion would be put up through presidential adviser and Phoenix Petroleum president and CEO Dennis Uy to fund the first four years of the Olympic cycle.
This initiative will be focusing on individual events while also looking into other sports that have various weight categories. The main objective of all these efforts is simple: to finally bring home Olympic gold. With 27 top athletes including Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, surfers Philmar Alipayo, Edito “Piso” Alcala, and Nilbie Blancada all from Siargao Island are also set to receive financial aid from the foundation to elevate their craft and address the hurdles that come with being a professional Filipino surfer.
An Interview with Philmar Alipayo
From lack of proper training equipment (“Our boards frequently break during practice, it’s part of surf training. But, we just lack the means to get our boards back into shape when it does happen”) to the importance of having a coaching staff (“We need coaches who can monitor us while we’re competing, to correct our moves if and when necessary”), Alipayo explains that even the country’s premier surfers have their fair share of trials.
“We, Pinoy surfers, definitely have the talent to compete against the best in the world. In fact, we have so many young, up-and-coming surfers in the scene today who are showing so much promise. So, to be able to improve and ultimately join more international surfing events, we really need support,” stresses Alipayo.
With Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation now looking to provide our athletes with more than just a fighting chance, redemption may be well within reach now more than ever.