AS much as the country wanted to win gold medals in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta last August, newly elected Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Ricky Vargas stressed an improvement in the country’s standing in the medal tally is as important. “I don’t like to talk about gold medals, but I’d like to talk about improving our standings because, when you start doing that, it gives a little bit motivation from that,” said Vargas after presiding over his first General Assembly as POC head on Monday at the Meralco headquarters in Pasig City.
The Philippines wound up 22nd in Incheon four years ago with only one gold medal courtesy of Daniel Caluag in cycling’s mountain bike.
Vargas believes that Filipino athletes could move up to the 15th place and expects gold medals from boxing, where he is the association president, and taekwondo, as well as jiu jitsu, gymnastics, bowling, kurash, bridge, judo and dragon boat.
The POC, Vargas said, would also give cash incentives to Filipino medal winners in Jakarta. A gold medal would be worth P2 million from the POC, a silver would command P500,000 and a bronze P300,000.
Athletes who win medals in team sports would each receive 25 percent of the incentive for individual events.