The 2012 Olympics are just a week away, and you can be sure that there are athletes from the Philippines en route to London for the games!
The Philippine contingent for the 2012 Olympics is a small one, in fact, this year’s Philippine Olympic team is the smallest team that the Philippines has ever sent to the Summer Olympics since they began participating in the games in 1932.
I can remember times seeing just 2 or 3 Athletes on the Philippine team for the Winter Games, though.
This year, the country is sending athletes to London to compete in the following sports:
- Archery (2 participants)
- Athletics (2 participants)
- Boxing (1 participant)
- Cycling (1 participant)
- Judo (1 participant)
- Shooting (1 participant)
- Swimming (2 participants)
- Weightlifting (1 participant)
So, as you can see, the team consists of just 11 athletes in all.
I find it kind of sad for the Philippines to send such a small team. If this were the Winter Olympics, I would understand, but in the Summer Olympics the Philippines should be able to field more athletes. I particularly find the Boxing category to be quite sad with only 1 Filipino boxer competing. The Philippines has several world class boxers, not only Manny Pacquiao, and to be able to send only one boxer to the Olympics is really unacceptable in my view. Of course, Professional athletes are generally not allowed to participate in the games, but given the quality of Filipino professional boxers, you would think that there would be a thriving community of amateurs in the sport as well.
Another sport that I find surprising for the lack of competition is basketball. Basketball is practically the official national sport of the Philippines! Yes, I am aware that Filipinos are generally shorter than many other competing athletes, but still, given the popularity of basketball in the Philippines, I would really like to see the country put up a team and at least see how they would do against other countries.
So far, the Philippines has never won an Olympic Gold Medal. Did you know that the Philippines has a law called the Sports Incentives Act (Republic Act 9064) which offers a reward of P5 Million to the first Filipino Olympic athlete that brings home a Gold Medal? It’s true. Will the country be giving out the P5M prize this year? With the small size of the team, I think it is doubtful, but you never know. Sometimes the most unlikely people end up winning Gold. Remember the Miracle on Ice in the 1980 Winter Olympics, when the US Hockey team won Gold? So, surprises happen, and I do hope that I live to see the day when that P5M is awarded to a Filipino Gold Medalist!
In addition to the P5M prize for a Gold Medalist, the country also offers P2.5M to any Silver Medalist from the Philippines, and P1M to any Filipino Bronze Medalist. Of course the amount of the prizes is nothing in comparison with the commercial rewards that await Filipino Medalists. Just look at Manny Pacquiao’s success to imagine what is possible in the commercial realm!
So, do you think the Philippines will bring home the Gold this year? What about any other medals? One thing is for sure… if they ever get cock fighting instituted as an Olympic sport, the Philippines will have a large and successful team!