WITH next year’s Tokyo Games being trumpeted as the country’s best chance to win its first Olympic gold, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero yesterday called on all sports leaders and major stakeholders to give Philippine Olympic Committee president and Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino all the support he needs to realize that long-cherished dream.
Romero said it’s high time Philippine sports is revolutionized so it could make a difference in international competitions like the Olympics.
“I would like to congratulate my good friend, Cong. Bambol, for securing a full four-year term. It’s a tough job being the president of the POC but I know he can handle it being a seasoned leader, both as sportsman and politician,” said the former amateur basketball godfather.
Tolentino, who represents Tagaytay City in the House, beat archery chief Clint Aranas 30-22 in elections last Friday.
To make the Olympic dream a reality, Romero urged everybody to unite and put an end to “sports politics” that he said has stunted the growth of some sports disciplines.
“We have to plan and work as one because the coming Tokyo Games is really our best chance. No more politics in sports because it destroys the three values of Olympism which are excellence, friendship and respect,” said Romero.
“It’s better that they work with Cong. Bambol for the sake of Philippine sports,” added Romero.
The cycling chief is expected to have his hands full next year.
Apart from the Tokyo Games that was rescheduled in July due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, national athletes are also set to compete in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, the 4th Asian Youth Games and 6th Asian Beach Games in China, and the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand.
“With so many international tournaments next year, I hope our elite athletes will be given the right training so Cong. Bambol will need the financial support from the government and private sectors,” said Romero, one of the leading lights of the Philippine National Federation of Polo Players.
Romero noted the continued training of boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo who have al qualified for the quadrennial spectacle.
“They are the country’s top gold medal prospects so far but I am looking forward for more qualifiers,” said Romero.
Those with realistic chances of making the grade are 2016 Rio de Janeiro silver medal winner Hydilyn Diaz of weightlifting, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon and Ian Clark Bautista and golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan.
“They say the more, the merrier but for us, the more athletes we can send, the bigger chances we can have,” said Romero.