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PSC on historic PH Olympic stint: 'The joy is overflowing'

Hidilyn Diaz's gold medal win was the main highlight of what has been the most fruitful Olympic performance ever by a Philippine team. Edgard Garrido/Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Safe to say, the Philippine Sports Commission calling itself happy after what the national team did in the Tokyo Olympics is an understatement.

The PSC said on Saturday that it is more than glad for the Philippine team for accomplishing an unprecedented feat just as its Olympic campaign ended.

"The joy is overflowing, the triumphs fortifying the patriotic spirit of the Filipino people. There is no better time to say our thank-yous," the agency's top officials, Chairman Butch Ramirez, Commissioners Mon Fernandez, Charles Maxey, Arnold Agustin, and Celia Kiram, Executive Director Guillermo Iroy, deputies Merlita Ibay, and Manuel Bitog, and Chief of Staff Marc Velasco said in a joint statement.

The Philippines scored its biggest medal haul in its 97-year participation in an Olympiad with four medals, eclipsing the three won in the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

The Philippines also finished its Olympic stint as the top performing Southeast Asian nation.

Highlighting the historic harvest is Hidilyn Diaz's gold medal performance in the women's 55-kilogram weightlifting event, the first time a Filipino athlete won it all in an official Olympic event.

"After 97 years of waiting, we finally achieved what has been otherwise an elusive dream for decades, our first Olympic gold. Add to this the joy of witnessing the most prolific delegation in terms of medal haul, exceeding past productions in past Olympic editions," the PSC further said.

Despite some athletes touted to make the podium failing to do so, the PSC stood by its previous statements that they have what it takes to get the chips.

"When asked before about our medal prospects in the Olympics, we in the PSC unashamedly replied positively. We believed in the capacity and talent of this delegation to produce. More than that, we knew of the kind and amount of support that was poured into the preparation of our athletes for what is dubbed the greatest sports stage in the world," the statement further read.

The PSC further told the athletes, "You all deserve our gratitude, admiration, and respect."

The PSC then thanked the executive and legislative chambers as well as the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation and other fellow government offices for being its partners in continuing the Philippine sports movement.

"The government, from scouting, identifying, developing and nurturing our athletes in the grassroots and grooming them for the national team at the elite level, plays an active role.  In this role, the PSC is not alone. We thank all the people in authority who put their faith in our athletes and made it possible for us to give them extraordinary support," the PSC further stated.

It also thanked the private sector "for being generous to our athletes and for adding where the government’s limitations can no longer go" especially when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the agency to make some drastic cost-cutting measures.

"This is where true bayanihan spirit showed its magic, with partners from the Executive level, Senate, Congress, and the private sector coming in to help us sustain support for the national team, especially for the preparation of our Olympians and those still vying for an Olympic ticket," the PSC added.

The sports body also thanked the taxpayers, who are being tagged as "the biggest contributor of support."

"Your taxes funded our athletes along the course of their athletic journey. More than this, your trust, prayers, and enthusiasm provided our athletes with more determination and motivation to come home winners and make us all proud," the PSC further said.

Following this historic Olympic performance from the national team, the PSC came to a certain realization: "We say it takes a nation to realize a dream."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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