With no choice but to stretch its budget as much as it could, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) could soon cut down full funding of national sports associations (NSAs) and their athletes who are backed by moneyed private sponsors.
Commissioner Ramon Fernandez said in an interview on Monday that the annual budget of the sports agency is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the 1,110 athletes and 266 coaches in the national pool, and that government support will be given to those without private help.
From 40 NSAs when the current PSC administration began its term in 2016, the number of sports associations under the Philippine Olympic Committee has ballooned to 61.
Meanwhile, Philippine karate bets seeking berths in the Tokyo Games were wiped out in the World Olympic Qualifying tournament in France, with Jamie Lim wrapping up the PH campaign with a 7-2 loss at the hands of Tunisia’s Chehinez Jemi in the round of 32 of the women’s +61 kg category.
Two-time Pan American champion Joane Orbon likewise fell in the round of 32 after Aleksandra Llankovic of Hungary pulled off a 4-2 triumph in their 61-kg weight class encounter.
Junna Tsukii, seeded third in the women’s 55 kg, wasn’t lucky either, dropping her round of 32 match against Bulgaria’s Ivet Goranova, 2-1, for an early exit.
It also didn’t help that remittances from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation operations that finance the National Sports Development Fund of the PSC diminished due to the prolonged onslaught of COVID-19 to the economy.
“Not all our athletes are lucky to have private sponsors. We are inclined to channel support to those athletes without sponsors to be fair to everybody,” said Fernandez.
The Team Philippines chef de mission to the 2021 Vietnam Southeast Asian Games pointed out that priority would be given to athletes who have the potential to excel in their craft internationally. INQ
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