PSC denies underfunding claim by Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-04 20:49:18|Editor: Xiaoxia
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MANILA, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The 2016 Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz recently asked for financial support as she pursues the gold in Tokyo 2020. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) said on Tuesday that the government "has been very supportive".

On last Monday, Diaz posted a story on her social media Instagram, where she openly asked if it was okay to ask the public for private sponsorship for her training towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"I'm really having a hard time. I need financial support," Diaz wrote in the story.

"I'm embarrassed about it but I'll try to be brave enough to do so for my dream of winning the country's first Olympic gold medal," she added.

Indeed, the Philippines has not won an Olympic gold medal since the country attended the quadrennial multi-sport event in 1924. Diaz is the first Filipino woman to win an Olympic medal of any color.

The 28-year-old weightlifter also snatched the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games.

Many concerned netizens reacted and expressed their support for Diaz, who has been busy training for the World Weightlifting Championships in September which will serve as a qualifier for Tokyo 2020.

The championships to be held in Pattaya, Thailand will be her last Olympic qualifier this year, and a gold medal can significantly lift her ranking for Tokyo 2020.

However, the PSC said Tuesday that the government has not been remiss in providing financial assistance to Diaz.

"The government has been very supportive," declared PSC chairman William Ramirez replying to questions about the government's supposed lack of support to Diaz.

Ramirez explained that Diaz receives one of the highest allowances in the national pool and whose requirements are rarely turned down by the country's sports governing body which has steadily backed her Olympic journey.

According to a statement by the PSC, it has given Diaz 45 million pesos (roughly 87,120 U.S. dollars) for her foreign training in Hainan and Guangxi, China, as well as approving her six world qualifying circuit competitions.

Her two-month training showed results when she copped three silvers in the Asian Weightlifting Championships held in Ningbo, China in last April.

Meanwhile, the Philippine netizens also initiated online crowdfunding to support the national heroine. The target amounts were projected to 10,000 U.S. dollars.

"Hidilyn Diaz, an Olympic silver medalist and Asian Games gold medalist, needs our help to fund her journey to Tokyo Olympics 2020. The Philippines has never won a gold in Olympics, and this is probably our best chance to win the elusive medal on her swan song," said a Philippine netizen in the social media Twitter.