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Tokyo Olympians, fruits of PSC’s grassroots

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has once again proven the effectiveness of its grassroots programs after most of its prodigies carried the Philippine flag and made history in the recently concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first-ever Olympic medalist is a proud product of the Batang Pinoy (BP) and Philippine National Games (PNG). These two youth programs which hones the Filipino weightlifting superstar and helped reach her dreams and become an Olympic champion are under the management of the PSC.

“Talagang malaking bagay ang nagagawa ng competition and programs. It gives awareness.” said Diaz in an earlier interview with the PSC Public Communications group.

“Ang Olympics ay pangarap ng lahat ng mga atleta pero may kaakibat na responsibilidad. Kailangan po ay patuloy tayong magsilbing inspirasyon para sa mga kabataan.” added Diaz who, prior to her Tokyo stint, also won the silver medal in 2016 Rio Olympics.

Aside from Diaz, 2020 Olympics silver medalists Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial are also products of these grassroots programs which started their journey to sports success. They qualified in their regional meets before competing and winning on the world stage.

These athletes have put the country on the world map after their historic performances in Tokyo this year. The country delivered the best-ever Olympic finish with 1 gold, 2 silvers, and 1 bronze medal surpassing the 1932 Los Angeles Games with 3 bronzes.

PSC Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez believes that “the Filipino youth will go a long way if we continue investing in our grassroots. Taking care of Hidilyn Diaz since her first Olympic campaign shows that developing athletes should be from the ground up.”

Olympic artistic gymnastics finalist and world champion Carlos Edriel Yulo, weightlifting national record-holder Elreen Ando, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, and rower Cris Nievarez were also discovered through the agency’s youth programs.

“The achievement of these young athletes has affirmed the vital role of strengthening grassroots sports alongside elite sports. Working in unity as one nation will truly lead us to a more promising and brighter future for Philippine sports.” said chairman Ramirez.

The sports agency chief also acknowledged the support and trust of the parents of these athletes, “you helped shape champions when you lent your children to sports and eventually become champions in their own fields.”

The PSC through the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) has designated regional cluster heads and coordinators to sustain the grassroots programs from local up to the national sports level.

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