P18-million windfall for SEA Games medalists

A windfall of more than P18 million was distributed to athletes who captured medals in the recent 29th Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur.

No less than Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Presidential Adviser for Sports Dennis Uy and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez supervised the distribution of incentives to athletes at Malacanang Palace.

Filipino athletes brought home 24 gold, 33 silver and 64 bronze medals in the biennial meet held in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur from Aug. 19 to 30.

Bannered by Filipino-American Trenten Berram, who ruled the men’s 400-meter and 200-meter runs in an impressive fashion, the gold medalists received P300,000 while the silver and bronze medalists took home P150,000 and P60,000 based on the Republic Act 10699.

And to further sweeten the pot, Uy distributed additional cash incentive of P50,000 to the gold, P30,000 to the silver and P10,000 to the bronze medalists.

The additional prize is an initiative of Uy — a Davao-based businessman who owns Phoenix Petroleum — and the Siklab Atleta Foundation in recognition to the hard work and dedication of the athletes in representing the country.

Although the feat of 24 gold medals is the country’s lowest since winning only 20 mints in the Brunei SEA Games in 1999, Medialdea still boosted the morale of the athletes, saying that they should wear their medal with pride.

“You are the example of camaraderie, hard work and success of the Filipinos,” said Medialdea, who helped distribute the incentives for silver and bronze medalists with Cong. Conrad Estrella, Cong. Pia Cayetano, Cong. Monsour del Rosario and Cong. Chuqui Roa with members of the PSC board of commissioners.

“Wear your medal with pride. Congratulations and be proud for being a Filipino.”

President Duterte showed up later on to personally distribute the incentives for gold medalists on top with Presidential citation.

Two-time gold medalist Nikko Huelgas of triathlon was in attendance as well as other newly-minted champions like Kiyome Watanabe of judo, Mary Joy Tabal of athletics, Samuel Morisson of taekwondo and Agataha Wong of wushu.

Also there were the country’s brightest prospects in the 2018 Asian Games and 2020 Olympics like Charly Suarez of boxing, Elaine Kirstie Alora and Pauline Lopez of taekwondo.

Majority of the athletes, however, are set to leave for Ashgabat, Turkmenistan today to see action in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games starting Sunday.