CEBU CITY, Philippines – Did you noticed a trend on Facebook recently? Well if you don’t, you need to do some back reading.
ICYMI (in case you missed it) this is the Atletang Pilipino hashtag (#AtletangPilipino), which is advocacy initiated and conceived by PSC Commissioner and basketball great Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez.
“It started as a hashtag. Atletang Pilipino is advocacy to gather support for our athletes, especially to our Olympic bound (athletes). We wanted to get support in any form to encourage our athletes to focus on their goals. (But) Not only to those who are going to the Olympics this includes those who are also seeking a slot to Tokyo as well as all athletes in general,” Fernandez told iNews.Ph.
From “El Presidente,” the #AtletangPilipino was adopted by the PSC organic and non-organic members, coaches, some NSAs officials, athletes and sports personalities.
“I am glad that the Atletang Pilipino advocacy has spread awareness to all walks of life. It is a morale booster to our athletes – right now we have four (Olympics) qualifiers – EJ Obiena (pole vault), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno (boxing). And we are told that Fil-Jap Kiyomi Watanabe (judo) also earned a slot to Tokyo being a continental qualifier and also Yukka Saso (golf) has qualified since she is on the top 60 in the ranking. She is ranked 30th,” added Fernandez.
Aside from Watanabe, Takano brothers, Shugen and Keisei also of Judo, are also trying to make the cut as they eyed to join three qualifying events (Budapest Grand Slam Oct. 23-25), Tokyo Grand Slam (Dec. 11-13) and Qatar World Masters (Jan. 2021). Also knocking on the Olympic doors is weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who is one qualifier shy from punching a ticket to Tokyo. Golfer Bianca Pagdanganan who is ranked 47th is the Women’s Ranking is also a shoo-in for the Summer Games.
Olympic chef de mission Nonong Araneta is predicting 15 athletes to qualify for Tokyo Games including athletes from rowing, canoe-kayak, archery, fencing, karate, triathlon and skateboarding.
“Before, only a handful of people are interested in or supporting our athletes to the Olympics. Now that we have the right people in PSC – Chairman Butch Ramirez, Commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Charles Maxey, Celia Kiram and Arnold Agustin, our athletes are assured of full support. Not just the elite athletes but also grassroots athletes. The Atletang Pilipino advocacy is the best thing to happen to our athletes. That is why when Com Ramon told me the Atletang Pilipino advocacy, I did not have a second thought, I gave my full commitment,” said Cebuano sportsman and PSC Regional Coordinator Lorenzo “Chao” Sy.
From the concept of Com. Fernandez, PSC head for the Visayas Nonnie Lopez created the template and the Atletang Pilipino advocacy campaign came into fruition when the county’s wealthiest clan head, Hans Sy of SM Prime, is throwing his unconditional support to the Atletang Pilipino campaign.
So if you love our Filipino Athletes, the next time you come across the Atletang Pilipino photo frame on Facebook, do not hesitate to join the campaign.