THE local gymnastic community is set to lose a well-loved and respected sports official with the irrevocable resignation of Gymnastics Association of the Philippines secretary general Bettina Pou.
“It is with a very heart that I am informing you that I will be retiring from the NSA, effective August 20, 2020. This serves as my letter of irrevocable resignation,” Pou wrote GAP president Cynthia Carrion last Saturday.
“It has been my pleasure to have been able to work with you for the past 10 years as your treasurer and sec gen. We have been able to bring GAP from zero when we started in late 2009 to having an Olympian in our midst,” she added, referring to world gymnastics champion and Olympic-bound Carlos Edriel Yulo.
The mother of former national team standout Bea Pou, however, left the door open for future involvement with the GAP and the sport, saying: “My heart will always be with our sport of gymnastics and will be there should you need me as a consultant.”
The present COVID- 19 pandemic that kept the country in virtual lockdown since mid-March may have hastened the decision of the GAP sec-gen to step down, considering that the national athletes under GAP have been barred from actual training since then.
While still sharp and spry, Pou is in her seventies, an age group vulnerable to the contagion and whom national government authorities in charge of the virus crisis have confined to staying at home under the prevailing conditions.
“I was saddened by her (Pou’s) decision and felt so selfish as she wanted to resign a long time ago due to health reasons and the stress of looking after the finances of the GAP,” Carrion said.
“Pou was a fantastic partner and worked so hard with me. I will miss her a lot,” added the GAP president, who is scheduled to call for an election for the new set of GAP officials who will serve a new four-year term.
Carrion is seeking reelection and is expected to run unopposed.
Since joining the GAP together over a decade ago, Carrion and Pou have played prominent roles in working together for the slow but steady resurgence of gymnastics in the country.
With their combined efforts in nurturing and promoting the sport, Pinoy gymnasts ended a 10-year-old drought in the Southeast Asian Games, with Reyland Capellan ruling the men’s floor exercise event in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.
Two years later they doubled that output with Capellan retaining his floor exercise title while Fil-Am Caitlin de Guzman bagged the women’s uneven bars gold medal.