By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, hailed the Filipino athletes who have so far clinched medals for the country in the ongoing 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In a statement, Go congratulated Mary Francine Padios for winning the Philippines’ first gold medal in the regional meet. He likewise commended other athletes who have clinched early silver and bronze medals for the country.
“I wish the rest of the Team Philippines very good luck as we defend our overall championship. The Filipino people are all behind you!” cheered Go.
As of May 11, the day before the opening ceremonies in Hanoi, Team Philippines has won eight medals so far — one gold, three silvers, and four bronzes.
Padios won the country’s first gold medal in the Pencak Silat Women’s Seni Tunggal single final, defeating Indonesian Puspa Arum Sari.
Meanwhile, the men’s beach handball team settled for silver after losing 1-2 to the host Vietnam. Filipino Kurash athletes likewise won three medals, including one silver and two bronzes.
In addition, the Philippine rowing team earned silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls and bronze in the women’s quadruple sculls, while the Pencak Silat men’s team took bronze.
The Philippines topped the medal tally of the previous SEA Games in 2019, garnering 149 gold, 177 silver, and 121 bronze medals.
Earlier, Go reaffirmed his unwavering support to the 987 Philippine delegates, who he said exemplified discipline and perseverance as they trained vigorously to represent the country at the regional sports meet to be held from May 12 to 23.
“As Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, it is with great pride and honor that I express my sincerest gratitude and appreciation to each and every one of you, for showing your undying devotion to our country through sports, and for upholding the true spirit of patriotism,” expressed Go.
Recognizing the athletes’ dedication, Go reassured them that he would remain steadfast in advocating for their well-being and interest. The senator also remarked that he will always be proud of the Filipino athletes regardless of the results of the competitions, adding that their perseverance and efforts are already laudable.
“Your sacrifice and commitment is something we are truly grateful for. Maraming salamat sa pagpapakita ng inyong angking galing sa larangan ng sports,” he stressed.
Go reiterated that he will continue to promote and advance long-term and grassroots sports development in the country.
As part of the senator’s commitment to provide a dedicated academy where promising young athletes can further hone their talents while getting quality education, he authored and co-sponsored the National Academy of Sports bill in the Senate which was enacted into Republic Act No. 11470 in 2020. The law establishes the NAS System and Main Campus in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.
The NAS is a government-run academy aimed at developing the country’s future athletes that offers quality secondary education with a special curriculum on sports for gifted young Filipinos who want to enhance their physical and mental capabilities in sports.
“Ngayon na meron nang National Academy of Sports, mabibigyan na ang mga kabataang atleta ng pagkakataon na mag-training at makapag-aral sa isang world-class na pasilidad at eskwelahan,” Go remarked.
Go also personally attended the signing of the Deed of Donation for the land on which the Philippine Sports Training Center is being built in Bagac, Bataan on May 18 last year. As Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go likewise pushed for the allocation of sufficient funds for the master development plan of the center. The facility is expected to be completed by 2025. (ai/mtvn)