Reward for first Filipino Olympic gold winner above $200,000 2008-07-25 15:44:09   Print

Special report: 2008 Olympic Games

    MANILA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The bonus for the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist in Beijing has reached 9.5 million pesos (214,000 U.S. dollars) after a new reward pledge came to light on Friday.

    Former Philippine Wushu Federation and No Fear sports apparel co-owner Jimmy Ong is donating 1 million pesos (22,600 dollars) to the first Filipino athlete who will win the country's breakthrough gold medal in the Beijing Olympics set to begin on Aug. 8, said Julian Camacho, treasurer of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

    "It's 9.5 million pesos for the gold medal," the treasurer told Xinhua.

    No Fear is the fourth private firm to pledge a financial reward, bringing 9.5 million pesos as an incentive to the first local athlete who can end the country's 80-year gold-medal hunt in the quadrennial Games.

    "Our athletes are well prepared for the Beijing Games and we hope that the incentive will push them beyond their limits," said Philippine Olympic Committee spokesman Joey Romasanta.

    Private firms that have pledged rewards include Microsoft Philippines, Chevron and Filipino-Chinese business tycoon Lucio Tan. Microsoft and Tan have promised to give 1 million pesos, respectively, while Chevron pledged three years' supply of Caltex fuel and lubricants for the gold medalist and his or her coach. An earlier report said all the three have promised to give 1 million pesos.

    Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has also pledged 1 million pesos.

    An additional 500,000-peso reward will come from the Philippine Sportswriters' Association.

    Camacho and Romasanta made it clear that most of the money awaits only the gold medalist and not for those who will win silver or bronze.

    The government, through the Philippine Sports Commission, has set aside a 5-million-peso reward for a gold winner under the Incentives Act, which also says a silver medalist will get 2.5 million pesos and a bronze winner, 1 million pesos.

    Five of the nine Olympic medals the Philippines won so far since the 1924 Paris Olympics were from boxing. Mansueto Velasco, who won silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games, was the latest Filipino athletes who came closest to a gold. He received 1 million pesos in cash on top of a new car plus a house and lot, media reports said.

    A total of 15 athletes will banner the country in seven sports with boxer Harry Tanamor and taekwondo jins Tshomlee Go and Ma. Antoinette Rivero being picked favored to bring home an Olympic title.

    The Beijing organizers will officially recognize the Philippine entry to the Olympic village on Aug. 4 where the raising of the Philippine flag will be held at 1 pm local time.

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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