THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), the country’s highest governing body in sports, is back to work.
With POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino getting a fresh four-year term following his re-election only last Friday, top sports officials hope to finally get going with their preparations for the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics and other major international competitions next year.
“There will be lots of challenges especially next year with the Tokyo Olympics,” said Tolentino two days after beating archery head Atty. Clint Aranas, 30-22, in the election held at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant n Pasay City.
“The year 2021 will be a busy year for the POC and our athletes. We have to focus on what they need and give our full support,” said Tolentino, also the president of the cycling association.
Tolentino admitted training and preparations of the natioal athletes have already been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“I will talk to the heads of national sports association (NSA) to find out how they can send their athletes back to training,” he said.
The lawmaker from Tagaytay City claimed he is excited in the country’s chance to finally win the elusive gold medal in the Olympics.
“This might be our year to finally get our first Olympic gold medal. I feel that this is the right time to have a shot at the gold and we all have to join hands to make this happen,” added Tolentino.
Tolentino said the POC will also focus on four other major international events next year: the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG ) in Vietnam, the 4th Asian Youth Games and 6th Asian Beach Games in China, and the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Thailand.
Before his reelection, Tolentino said he had successfully lobbied for an additional P900 million budget for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to boost the training of national athletes next year.
Tolentino also successfully included a provision of P180 million additional funding for athletes and coaches in the Bayanihan Act 2 meant to provide help during the pandemic.
Tolentino will be joined in the new POC Board by Steve Hontiveros (handball) as chairman, Al Panlilio (basketball) as first vice president, Richard Gomez (fencing) as second vice president, Cynthia Carrion (gymnastics) as treasurer and Chito Loyzaga (baseball) as auditor; and Raul Canlas (surfing), Pearl Managuelod (muaythai), Charlie Ho (netball), and Dave Carter (judo) as board members.