Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first ever Olympic gold medalist, has been showered with pledges over the past few days, with over P40 million in cash, and other things like a house and lot, condominium, vehicles, and even free lifetime fuel and airfare.
Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco, a silver medalist in boxing in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, experienced this in his time as a national athlete as well, but he expressed hopes that Diaz will be able to receive all of the pledges that were promised to her.
In an interview with 24 Oras on Friday, Velasco revealed that wasn’t the case for him as not all of the pledges reached him, including a P2.5 million cash pledge from Congress.
“Yung kay Hidilyn, sana matupad lahat para hindi lang si Hidilyn, yung iba pang gustong maging athletes na kabataan, magpursige rin na ganun pala kalaki yung mga binibigay,” he said.
He shared that one businessman pledged a lifetime allowance of P10,000 a month that stopped after only one year. And he also did not receive a pledge from the Philippine Navy that would’ve granted scholarships to his two children.
He did receive a house and lot as one of the pledges, but he said he’s still hoping to receive the title to the house as well.
“Ang inaano ko na lang sana, yung titulo lang mai-transfer na ba, kasi nakatira ako doon sa bahay, mamaya bigla akong palayasin doon.”
Velasco said that the incentives are something that can keep athletes motivated, especially during the difficult times in training.
He shared that it was especially tough during his time because cellphones and video calls weren’t around back then, which made it harder for the athletes when they worry about their families.
Velasco retired soon after his Olympic appearance, saying he needed to focus on his family. But he believes Diaz will be motivated to continue and will find success in her future competitions.
But as for his own experiences, Onyok is just finding ways to laugh in spite of it.
“Joke joke namin lagi, pinganakuan ka na, gusto mo pa tuparin pa. Dapat matuwa ka na kasi pinangakuan ka na eh.”
—JMB, GMA News