POC to press for actual training of Tokyo hopefuls

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    PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee President and Rep. Bambol Tolentino will press for the resumption of actual training of 19 National Sports Associations whose athletes have qualified or are still in the process of qualifying for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

    “Our request to the Inter-Agency Task Force (in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic) is for these 19 NSAs with Olympic qualifiers and aspirants to return to actual training soon,” Tolentino said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online session yesterday.

    The Tagaytay congressman, who successfully inserted an additional P180 million in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act 2 for restoration of full stipends of the national coaches and athletes, said the amount would also cover those in the national paralympic pool.

    There are currently 1,820 athletes and 382 coaches in the national pool being supported by the Philippines Sports Commission whose allowances were cut in half last July due to the reduced remittances coming from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

    PAGCOR is the main source of PSC funds where the government sports agency draws the allowances and other financial aids for the members of the national pool.

    “That provision in the new law also includes an added P5,000 allowance for all of them, which also covers the enlisted personnel in the national pool even if they get salaries from their respective (military) units so everyone will have an equitable share,” he said.

    Tolentino, during the public sports program backed by San Miguel Corp., Go for Gold, Smart, Brasca Restaurant Amelie Hotel and PAGCOR, also expressed the hope that the PSC would be able to get the money from the Department Budget and Management and release it to the athletes and coaches as soon as possible.

    “Under this law, if you do not disburse the money by December, the amount will revert back to the national government,” he explained.

    The PhilCycling president said the delay in the return-to-gym training of the national athletes was due to the conversion of the Philippine Sports Complex in Pasig City into a quarantine facility by the national government for those infected with the deadly coronavirus.

    “When NCR goes back to MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) then I believe we can go back to actual training in November at the latest,” said Tolentino, adding that he would leave it to the NSAs concerned where their athletes would actually train.

    In his own backyard, he said that female mountain biker Ariana Dormitorio, who has been training in San Mateo, Rizal, is their top bet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.