MANILA: How much is an Olympic gold medal worth? If you are an athlete from the Philippines it could be in excess of 10 million pesos (US$178,000).
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) yesterday said it has arranged a major package of incentives for Filipino athletes who win medals, of any colour, at this year's Olympic games in Athens.
PSC chairman Eric Buhain said: “We will give them something that will set them up for life.”
The Philippine government says an athlete winning a gold medal will be given five million pesos, silver 2.5 million and bronze one million.
Buhain said South Korean firm Samsung has agreed to match the government's cash incentives.
He said the PSC is also planning to give medal winners pensions, permanent jobs for their families and pay for their children's education.
The last Filipino to win a medal at the Olympics was boxer Mansueto Velasco who won silver in Atlanta in 1996 and has lived a very different life ever since.
Velasco received millions of pesos in cash from the government and received even more from the private sector including houses and cars, Buhain said.
His silver medal in the lightflyweight division also opened the doors for endorsements, films and show business.
At present 14 Filipino athletes have been assured their places in Athens. In 80 years of participating in the modern Olympics the Philippines has yet to win a gold medal. – AFP
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