Hidilyn Diaz during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila.
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
Hidilyn Diaz's 6-member team could be hit by PSC’s budget cut
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - June 3, 2020 - 2:06pm

MANILA, Philippines – Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is one of the Filipino athletes with the best hope of ending the country’s search for that elusive gold in the quadrennial games.

But Diaz also has the biggest team — with six members — among local athletes that may put the Philippine Sports Commission in a bigger financial bind after it recently implementing cost-cutting measures.

“Hidilyn Diaz has a Chinese coach and another one she added on her team. She is the only athlete with a team of six,” said Ramirez.

Apart from slashing the monthly stipend of national athletes and coaches and terminating its coordinators nationwide, the government sports-funding agency is bent on rescinding contracts of some foreign coaches as part of its belt-tightening moves.

It will also save it a lot of money since foreign coaches cost a lot — $600 for Asians and $900 to $1,200 for European coaches.

Ramirez, however, clarified that the coaches of the Olympic qualifiers, including Diaz’s Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen, are safe for now.

It could be a different story for the rest of Diaz’s team.

“It depends, if we have the budget, we will sustain,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez also mulls the possibility of sending Diaz, who was stranded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by the COVID-19 pandemic, back home as soon as restrictions are relaxed.

“Once it normalizes, we will provide them tickets, they have to go home. We have to train all NSAs fairly. Hidilyn, in normal times, she has to go home,” he said.

Olympic-bound Caloy Yulo and EJ Obiena each have one coach in Munehiro Kugimiya of Japan and Vitaly Petrov of Ukraine, respectively, while Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno share consultant Don Abentt of Australia.

Ramirez, meanwhile, was all praises for Yulo and Kugimiya.

“He’s a person who doesn’t demand anything at all as well as his coach,” said Ramirez of Yulo.

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