MANILA - Rio Olympics 2016 weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is upbeat about the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) that will be launched at 3 p.m. today at the PhilSports Complex Multi-Purpose Arena in Pasig City today.
Zamboanga City's Diaz will be among the special guests who will lead the oath of support including keynote speaker Cabinet Secretary Leoncio "Jun" Evasco, Jr. who will represent President Rodrigo R. Duterte after the latter begged off due to a tight schedule. The latter led the country's hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Summit 2017 at the SMX Convention Cneter, SM Lanang Premier on Sunday.
Diaz said, "Para sa akin po maganda etong ginawa ng PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) na nagtayo ng PSI para sa pagbabago sa sports simula sa grassroots hanggang sa elite athletes. Yon naman talaga ang kailangan naming mga athletes."
She, however, accepted her fate of not being able to compete in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as women's weightlifting events were scrapped. She is instead training for the Asian Indoors.
Meanwhile, three-time Olympian jumper Marestella Torres Sunang was confident that Philippine sports is in the right direction.
"Whatever the new plans of PSI for the athletes, alam ko para sa ikakabuti ng sports especially for us athletes. Bukasang launching and I'm very excited to know sa mga bagong plans nila," Torres-Sunang said in a separate Facebook interview.
Former Aiba Women's World Boxing silver medalist Nesthy Alcayde Petecio of Davao del Sur, meanwhile, said she hopes that athletes' needs will be addressed by the PSC and the PSI.
Petecio, who started her amateur boxing career in Davao City, said other national athletes really need sufficient and nutritious food as well as daily vitamins. "Sakto nga allowance para makasuporta sa ilahang mga needs lalo na sa mga naga-school og taman paghatag sa supply, maayos nga dormitory kesa mas okay pa ang mga office keysa sa dormitory sa athletes (Sufficient allowance to meet their needs especially those who are still going to school and better dormitories for athletes)," she appealed.
Meanwhile, PSI national training director Marc Edward Velasco, who is from Davao City, will acknowledge guests before PSC Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez will give his welcome message to some 500 stakeholders expected in the milestone event.
Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, also a Dabawenyo, will also bare his support to the PSI then PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez will introduce Evasco.
Barcelona Olympics boxing bronze medalist Roel Velasco will also join Diaz, Evasco and Uy in leading the oath of support of all stakeholders.