Ray of sunshine

Carlos Yulo’s quest for the country’s first Olympic gold medal gets a massive boost after the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) sets up a solidarity fund for athletes greatly affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion said she would be reaching out to FIG to endorse the 18-year-old Yulo for the financial aid that would fuel his drive in the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Reports have it that the FIG Foundation for Solidarity would be putting up a budget amounting to CHF 400,000 — or more than P20 million — to athletes from countries who suffered economic meltdown due to the coronavirus crisis.

If this would be the basis, gymnasts from Asia and Africa stand to qualify as well as those from the Philippines, whose sports ministry lost more than half of its funding after the government decided to realign its budget to help in the country’s fight against the deadly pulmonary disease.

So far, the country has more than 12,000 confirmed cases with a death toll of 824.

It also suffered a two-month lockdown that slowed down the economy and greatly affected the budget meant for Olympic-bound athletes like Yulo, EJ Obiena, Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial.

“I will be writing my friends in the FIG to include the Philippines in their solidarity program since we are also suffering from the coronavirus crisis,” Carrion, also a member of the Philippine Olympic Committee executive council, said.

“I think they will be giving it out mostly to countries in need like those from Africa and Asia. Well, European countries and the United States also suffered, but I don’t think they will be included in the program because they have so much money.”

A similar war chest had been built by World Athletics to grease the Olympic campaign of its athletes wrought by the virus.

According to Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico, their world body would be doling out $500,000 — or around P25 million — to countries hammered by the virus.

But he would not enroll his ward in the program, believing that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has the capacity to finance his buildup using the P100-million budget promised by President Rodrigo Duterte last year.

Carrion said contrary to PATAFA, they are embarking on a very expensive Olympic buildup.

She said although Yulo is already drawing fund from the government sports agency, he would still need additional budget, prompting her to tap the help of the private sector to finance his training under noted Japanese coach Munehiro Kugemiya.

She added that the FIG support is such a ray of sunshine to Yulo and his Olympic campaign.

“If we don’t get funding from the private sector, I am going to use the FIG funding for Caloy, of course,” she said.

“As president of the federation, it is my responsibility to find money that would sustain his training. Caloy is such a world-class athlete, He remains, and should remain, our first priority.”

Date: May 19, 2020 | By: Ian Suyu | Newspaper: Tribune | Source: https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2020/05/19/ray-of-sunshine-2/?fbclid=IwAR3g2d1rBVhwoFXwogYGb-UP-i4DBt9cLFYnmRb2vZPk2qoyNHyy0zhaRjc