The Philippines’ Quest for Gold

Siklab Atleta formed to help the Philippines capture elusive Olympic gold

Rio Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Philippines was the first Southeast Asian country to participate in the Summer Olympic Games in 1924 and yet so far only has a tally of three silver and seven bronze medals.

Half of these medals are in boxing, 2 in athletics, 2 in swimming and 1 in weightlifting. Time and again, that elusive Olympic gold has always escaped from the hands of Filipino athletes at the Olympic Games. The government and the private sectors involved in the advancement of Philippine sports have been doing their best, but up to the present, there has been no success in achieving its 1st Olympic Gold.

Enter Siklab Atleta – Pilipinas Sports Foundation, a private non-profit organization dedicated to helping develop, train and produce the first Philippine Olympic Gold medalist. This foundation, the executive director of which is the former PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) commissioner Attorney Angelico "Chito" Salud, has now raised the amount of 1 Billion Philippine Pesos (equivalent to about NT$600 million) through the presidential adviser on sports Dennis Uy of Phoenix Petroleum and other prominent Philippine businessmen.

"Siklab Atleta will concentrate on individual sports like weightlifting, archery, shooting, cycling and Taekwondo," Salud said. "We will choose the best prospective athletes, provide the financial means and organization to train them either in the Philippines or even outside the country if needed. For example, the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz may be sent to Taiwan for training where the 2016 Olympic gold medalist came from. Only the best athletes will be considered and anytime these athletes perform less than their potential, they may be replaced to give a chance to other better deserving athletes.”

The stated goal of Siklab Atleta is to provide the chosen elite athletes with financial and other logistical support in the form of training equipment and facilities, coaching expertise, international competition, and exposure, as well as education, housing, and livelihood.

Siklab Atleta is now setting its sights on the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games and will start its operation soon.