It all started as a roadshow, where a few personal mementos of sporting heroes were put on display during the Philippine Sports Commission-organized events like Batang Pinoy and the Philippine National Games.
Now, the brainchild of PSC chairman Butch Ramirez to immortalize the Filipino athlete’s greatness, takes a huge turn with the planned expansion of the Philippine Sports Museum.
In an online press conference, Ramirez revealed the conversion of the Philippine National Bank building located inside the premises of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex into a permanent museum.
“If these are national treasures that depict the greatness of our Filipino athletes and will inspire the next generation of heroes, they should be put on display for all to see. They should not be hidden,” said Ramirez, who started the his brainchild during his first time as PSC chief from 2005 to 2008.
When Ramirez returned to the PSC in 2016, the expansion of the museum is on the list of his programs in a bid to immortalize the greatness of Filipino sporting heroes, who made the country proud in the global stage.
Ramirez said the new PSM building, which is expected to be completed before the year ends, will house the exhibit area, sports library, coffee shop and heroes hall where the mementos of Hall of Fame awardees will be displayed.
“It’s the realization of the Hall of Fame Law,” added Ramirez who formed a working group to coordinate closely with the National Historic Institute and the National Museum for proper preservation and maintenance of the items in the museum.
Ramirez said that President Rodrigo Duterte will be invited to grace the opening of the museum.
On display are a vast collection of personal memorabilia of past Filipino sporting heroes like medals plaques and trophies and uniforms they used in actual competitions like shoes, gears, balls, jackets, gloves, among others.
Among the items were the uniforms, gloves and the actual medal won by boxing silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Also featured are Miguel White, bronze medalist in the men’s 400 meters hurdles in 1936; Anthony Villanueva, silver medalist in the men’s featherweight of boxing in 1964 Tokyo Olympics; Leopoldo Serrantes, boxing bronze medalist in 1988 Seoul Olympics; Roehl Velasco, boxing bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona and Velasco.
Rio 2016 Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz was the most recent donor to the museum as she shared her parade uniforms. She also allowed the PSC to make a replica of her medal for display.
The Philippines first competed in the 1924 Olympic Games but has not yet won a gold medal. As the Tokyo Summer Games got underway on Friday, the Philippines has high hopes of finally winning its first Olympic gold medal.