Sympathy, aid for Haiyan survivors pour in from sports world

MANILA, Philippines – In the wake of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in central Philippines, sports icons from all over the world took a moment to sympathize with the victims of one of the strongest typhoons in history.

From the world of basketball, football, boxing, and golf, messages of compassion pour in for the 10 million affected by the storm, even making proactive steps to pitch in their help.

NBA cares

Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade posted in his twitter account on November 11 his sympathies to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by typhoon #Haiyan. Learn how you can help: http://t.co/uS2sDbky33 — THREE (@DwyaneWade) November 11, 2013

He also included a link to a page in NBA’s website dedicated for the relief efforts for the Philippines.

“On behalf of the Miami HEAT organization, we would like to extend our condolences to the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. We value the many fans that we have over there, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” said Spoelstra, who traces his roots to San Pablo, Laguna.

Kobe Bryant, who has been in the country numerous times and Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol likewise expressed their sadness through their twitter accounts.

#PrayForThePhilippines #heartbroken — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) November 12, 2013

Gasol, for his part, pledged to donate $1,000 for every point he scores in their game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, November 22 (Saturday, November 23 in the Philippines)

The Lakers' big man also asked his followers to pledge with him and he has received several positive replies with pledges ranging fron $1 to $50.

Kids in the #Philippines need help. Im pledging $1,000 per pt @ Friday's game. Will u pledge w me? http://t.co/Sz9oRu1tiq @UNICEFUSA #Haiyan — Pau Gasol (@paugasol) November 20, 2013

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have teamed up to donate $250,000 to UNICEF to help in the relief efforts in the battered areas in the country.

Support from football community

FIFA, through its President Joseph Blatter, meanwhile, wrote to the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), offering condolences and assistance to the typhoon-struck regions in the country.

“I would like to express my profound sadness and sympathy following the Super Typhoon Haiyan that hit the central Philippines. Our thoughts are with the victims of this disaster and their families,” said Blatter in a letter to PFF President Mariano Araneta. “I wish you strength and courage with the recovery and rescue operations. We are at your disposal if special assistance is needed for the football family.”

FC Barcelona – whose leading all-time scorer is Paulino Alcantara, a Filipino – is also backing a UNICEF campaign to help the Philippines.

Wayne Rooney tweeted a photo of him and his teammates from the English National football team with relief packs on hand, urging people to “be there for the children of the Philippines.”

Editor's Note: We earlier wrote that this was a photo of Wayne Rooney with his Manchester United teammates. We regret the error.

Help Unicef be there for children of the Philippines. Text UNICEF to 70123 to give £3. Thank you pic.twitter.com/1kPBMSjqu7 — Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) November 13, 2013

‘Battle against devastation’

Doug Baldwin of the league-leading Seattle Seahawks entered the playing field on Sunday, November 17 (Monday, November 18 in Manila) carrying an inverted Philippine flag to honor the lives lost in the aftermath of Haiyan and “fighting against devastation… which has been worse than many war-torn regions of the world.”

Please continue supporting #Haiyan relief. @DougBaldwinJr appreciates your generosity. #PinoyPower pic.twitter.com/XbhoB8iNnm — Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) November 18, 2013

The Seahawk wide receiver, who has relatives in Tacloban City – the capital of heavily-hit province of Leyte, likewise urged fans to donate to Red Cross. Seattle was able to raise over $12,000 that was matched by team owner Paul Allen to bring the total to more than $24,000.

Even over in the golfing world, athletes also gave their support to the Philippines. At the recently concluded Resorts World Manila Masters held at the Manila Southwoods and Country Club, Chinese golfer Liang Wen-Chong, who won the tournament’s debut in the Asian Tour, donated half of his $135,000 prize cheque to victims suffering the effects of Haiyan.

“Before coming over to the Philippines, I was really affected by what I saw of the damage and victims suffering from the aftermath of the Typhoon on television,” Liang told asiantour.com “I’ve decided to donate 50% of my winnings to do my part and support the relief efforts.” - Rappler.com