Eighth weight division world champion Manny Pacquiao has promised to give a P5 million cash reward to any Filipino athletes who will win a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Pacquiao is also scheduled to fly to Doha, Qatar on Wednesday to support Filipino light flyweight Rogen Ladon and welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial in their campaign in the World Boxing Championship Olympic qualifier from October 5 to 15.
“My promise is to give P5 million cash reward to any Filipino athlete who will win a gold medal in next year’s Olympics,” Pacquiao told The Manila Times during an interview on Tuesday at his executive mansion in Forbes Park, Makati City.
“I was also an amateur athlete before and I know how hard it is to be an athlete. I will also go to Qatar this week to support our two boxers. I’m hoping they qualify for the Olympics and win the gold.”
Pacquiao said that any Filipino Olympians in Rio is entitled to the cash reward he is offering not just boxers.
Trackster Eric Cray is the only Filipino assured of a berth in the Rio Olympics so far after meeting the Olympic qualifying standard.
“It is open to any athletes. This will be the first time if ever we win a gold medal,” he said. “Aside from boxing, I believe also that other athletes from different sports can win an Olympic gold medal like in athletics,” said Pacquiao.
Pacquiao on Monday also announced that he would run for senator in next year’s presidential election.
He added that his next fight would depend on the plans of his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. Arum is currently arranging a fight between Pacquiao and the Filipino’s former sparring partner Amir Khan that could possibly happen in March.
“When I go to New York, I will talk to Bob [about my next fight],” said Pacquiao. “I’m ready to fight anyone.”
Pacman is not doing any boxing training at the moment, “I’m just playing basketball, so far, so good my shoulder is fine,” he said. “Before the year ends, I think I can go back to training. I’m feeling well already.”
Pacquiao is set to receive the prestigious Asia Game Changer Award from Asia Society in New York City on October 13. “It is an absolute honor to receive that kind of award,” he said