Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial was among those who had to rigorously campaign for funding for his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.
However, the amateur boxer—now with an assured medal—was heavily criticized for voicing out the lack of support for top athletes.
Some Reddit users recalled this ahead of Marcial’s semifinal match on Thursday, August 5.
In a statement on Facebook in May, the Olympian decried that the allowance he receives from the national government was not enough to cover for his expenses in the United States.
“Mga taong walang alam sa sports tahimik nalang kayo! Hindi niyo alam ang katotohanan. Since last year nong nasa United States ako hanggang ngayon dito sa Zamboanga City tingin niyo sapat ang P43,000 monthly allowance para sa preparation para sa Olympics? (which is allowance ko ‘yun sa sarili ko as a national athlete),” Marcial wrote.
“Do you think I can rely d’yan sa P43,000 para sa plane tickets, accommodation, food, coaching staff, supplements, masseuse, etc? Lahat ng na-mention sa taas provided by private sponsors and, of course, my own money,” he added.
Marcial continued that the government should not have high expectations for performance if it does not support its athletes properly.
This statement came after the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines and the Philippine Sports Commission had stated that they had extended their financial support to him.
While his supporters backed him up online, some Filipinos criticized and made fun of Marcial, saying he was asking for too much.
Months later, on August 1, the three-time gold medalist at the Southeast Asian Games won against Armenia’s Arman Darchinyan in the men’s middleweight quarterfinals.
The struggle for funds
One Reddit user shared on August 1 a screenshot of one of these disapproving tweets directed at Marcial.
“Binash din itong si Marcial nung nagreklamo na maliit ang allowance nila. People who don’t aim for the top will never understand the costs of the struggle for excellence,” the user wrote.
In the comments section, other Reddit users lamented on the plight of Filipino athletes, particularly the ones representing the country in big events such as the Olympics.
“Kahit gano kayaman yung athlete, dapat hindi sila gumastos ng kahit singko galing sa sariling pera para irepresent ang bansa sa Olympics,” one user wrote.
“People get support only when they succeeded,” another user wrote.
One Reddit user also denounced other Filipinos who air negative remarks against athletes rather than support them.
“Di ko talaga maintindihan imbis na suportahan bakit kailangang i-bash yung mga atleta natin na nanghihingi ng tulong sa gobyerno. Sana pagkatapos nitong magandang performance na pinakita ng ating mga atleta ay magising na ang gobyerno at bumuhos na ang suporta sa kanila,” the user said.
Now Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz had also appealed for sponsorships from private companies and individuals during her training days for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Diaz would eventually win a silver medal at 2016 Games.
Following her record-breaking and historic win at the Tokyo Olympics, some of Diaz’s supporters juxtaposed previous financial struggles with incentives and tens of millions of cash now gifted to her.
Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio likewise received nasty comments when she predicted in an earlier interview that Filipino women will outplay men in the sports world.
Petecio is now down to a fight for a gold medal on August 3. She won against Italian Irma Foe during the women’s featherweight semifinals last Saturday.