Golden goal takes backseat

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EVERY TIME Jeremy Randell Go walks into a crowded room, he takes the path less traveled, so to speak. He wants to come in unnoticed, little or no grand entrance at all.

Go is vice president for marketing of Powerball, the company behind Scratch It, a  lottery game where a player scratches  a play area on a ticket to reveal a winning symbol or pattern equivalent to a cash prize that is paid immediately.

The game has been in existence for the past 10 years, but with Go’s love for sports—he’s a triathlete and a cyclist—Go For Gold was born in 2016.

At first it was just those two sports that involves a bicycle—triathlon and cycling. But a year or so after 2016, the campaign’s reach expanded and Go For Gold’s name recall has become synonymous to sports.

Mention Jeremy Randell Go and Go For Gold and they’re synonymous to sports godfathers for their support to athletes, among them dragonboat rowers and sepaktakraw artists.

Six sports were added to the list, according to Go. These are skateboarding, the sport that made Margielyn Didal a household name, and sepaktakraw, a fun to watch sport where athletes-cum-acrobats use their feet and play a badminton-like match that draws oohs and aahs from whoever watches the game.

Wrestling of the freestyle and Greco-Roman type, as well as dragonboat racing, chess and   basketball were added to the Go For Gold roster.

“We also went into basketball [Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League and Philippine Navy team] and we supported the Air Force’s men’s volleyball squad,” Go said.

With close to a dozen sports under its care, its nowhere cheap.

“I don’t have an exact number, but more than P10 million over four years,” said Go—and of course, that’s a ballpark figure that when equated to the athletes who benefit from the support, they’re priceless.

But the Covid-19 pandemic struck and business went sour. All lotto outlets were shut down and with it Sratch It sales went flat.

“Unfortunately our businesses were shut down and currently we are still on recovery mode,” he said.

The economy continues to suffer with government allowing lotto outlets to open today, but would be closed again due to the varying level of quarantines imposed in certain localities.

Under this unforgiving situation, Go said Go For Gold’s campaign needed to take the backseat, for now.

“For now, we cannot support new sports sponsorships and have put on hold existing commitments,” he said.

But Go praised Go For Gold’s athletes for their flexibility to adopt even in the most difficult times.

“Most sporting events have been canceled, both local and international, but that has not affected our athletes to much,” he said. “Now, they just focus on maintaining fitness for when the world comes back [to normal].”

From a business and sporting stand point, Go said the company has to drastically reduce spending. “Even now, we still have no idea on the pace of recovery so we need to be cautious on spending,” he said.

But Go vowed Go For Gold will go for a restart of its own once the virus is beaten.

“We will try to support our athletes if we are able. Hopefully, business will recover and we can continue,” he said. “I cannot guarantee the future because I honestly can’t foresee when this pandemic will be over.”

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