GIVING BACK. After winning gold medals for the Philippines, the women's golf team of (from left) Lois Kaye Go, Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso give back to the sport they love. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – After receiving news that world amateur golf rules may be violated if they accept their 2018 Asian Games medal bonus, the country's golden golfers decided to donate a total amount of P16.8 million pesos to the National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP).
"We unanimously agreed that if it were possible to donate this money to support the national golf program – and thus help other aspiring golfers reach their goals – this would be the best scenario for us," the Asiad champion trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go said in a joint statement on Wednesday, September 13.
"After consulting the world golf governing body, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, we were advised that this was a viable option."
Saso, Pagdanganan and Go are listed as amateurs in the world golf federation and will lose the status immediately if they accepted any monetary incentive.
Both Pagdanganan and Go are playing in the US NCAA that is governed by strict rules on athletes accepting endorsements and financial rewards.
The 17-year-old Saso – currently a student of Yoyogi High School in Tokyo, Japan – is looking to join the NCAA as well for her collegiate career.
NGAP secretary general Bones Floro said the donation will be allocated to the development of the national golf program especially after the trio had exceeded expectations in the 2018 Asian Games.
"I foresee that much of it shall be towards the grassroots program wherein undisovered talents due to their financial inability shall be developed," said Floro in a text message to Rappler.
Nevertheless, the country's golden trio thanked their supporters and the different government agencies for the chance to give back to the community. (READ: Asian Games medalists get another surprise from Duterte)
"President Duterte, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation and Ambassador Wee have all generously offered us monetary incentives for our victories.
"We believe that this is born out of a sincere and honest desire to help Filipino athletes, and to rightfully reward them for bringing distinction to the country. Accordingly, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the kind officials who made these incentives possible," the girls' statement said.
Saso – who anchored the team's golden run after bagging a women's individual gold by besting China’s Liu Wenbo with an eagle in the 18th hole – hauled in a total of P10.67 million from her double gold performance.
Pagdanganan, who managed to win the sudden-death battle for bronze, garnered P3.46 million, while Go's share of the team gold amounts to P2.67 million. – Rappler.com