TOKYO— Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen could be headed elsewhere—to a wealthy nation perhaps—now that he has two Olympic gold medal-winning wards in his portfolio.
Gao coached Hidilyn Diaz to the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal in women’s -55 kgs of weightlifting on Monday night.
And because of that, the demand for Gao’s services, according to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez, is expected to rise especially from wealthy countries.
“The weightlifting world is now looking at Coach Gao,” Ramirez told Filipino reporters on Friday. “Mind you, his credentials now look brighter with Hidilyn’s success here.”
Gao is one of several foreign coaches who handled Filipino athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. Among them are Uzbekistan’s Shukhrat Ganiev for rower Cris Nievarez, Ukranian Vitaly Petrov for pole vaulter EJ Obiena and Australian Don Abnett for boxers Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Felix Marcial, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno.
Gao, according to Ramirez chief of staff at the PSC, receives a monthly salary of $2,500, his contract expiring December 31 this year.
Abnett, on the other hand, gets $5,000 a month, although the rate wasn’t consistent during pandemic year 2021, Velasco said.
Ramirez said Gao, like all the other foreign coaches in the PSC payroll, was recommended by the sport’s national association, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines.
“Compared to the other countries which offer as much as $10,000 a month for their athletes’ foreign coaches, there are no guarantees that Coach Gao would be remaining with Hidilyn in case she returns to training for the Paris 2024 Olympics,” Ramirez said.
Before Diaz, Gao coached Chinese Zhou Lulu to the women’s +75 kgs class gold medal in London 2012.