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
Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has also pledged 1 million pesos.
An additional 500,000-peso reward will come from the Philippine
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
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
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.