IF he gets reelected, Philippine Olympic Committee president and Rep. Bambol Tolentino aims to immediately reunite all the members of the local Olympic body and then tackle next year’s top priorities, including the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games.
“In the event we win, our first move will be to reach out to the NSAs and the POC while setting aside politics and focus on winning our first gold in the Tokyo Olympics,” Tolentino said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum yesterday.
Tolentino is keen on quickly setting differences aside, especially with the camp of archery chief Atty. Clint Aranas, who is also seeking the POC top post, because he does not want to waste the gains made in the country’s successful overall campaign in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
“Honestly, we are already behind because Vietnam has gained a head start in the training of its athletes,” noted the POC chief in the session backed by San Miguel Corp. the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp., Smart, Go for Gold, Amelie Restaurant, Brasca Hotel and Milo.
Tolentino revealed the POC has made representations with the Philippine Sports Commission so it can ask permission from the Inter-Agency Task Force in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic to let national athletes and coaches involved in the SEA Games to resume actual training.
“We have been talking regularly with the PSC and they assured that this request will be acted on by the IATF,” Tolentino said, adding the country’s locally-based Olympic qualifiers and aspirants are set to return to actual workouts soon.
Encouraged by the SEA Games success of Filipino campaigner, who recaptured the overall crown with a haul of 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals, Tolentino said he offered to the SEA Games Federation Council during its online meeting last week for the country to host the event once again.
“With our present new facilities and with the last success of our national athletes, I made this offer to the SEAG Federation Council and it might just happen in 2031,” he said.
“Indonesia, which will be the next host by that time, might not be able to do so because it is seriously bidding to host the 2032 Olympics.”
He did not skirt the issue on the much-awaited and delayed report of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games, including the audited financial statements, over its handling of the last SEA Games.
“The last payment of the PSC to PHISGOC was in mid-September so, counting 60 days, so we can expect this very soon, probably towards the end of the month,” Tolentino said.
Asked about his reelection chances, Tolentino reminded everyone that he had successfully run as councilor, mayor, and congressman for three successive terms each “so as a politician we always expect to win.”
Levity aside, however, he expressed hope “that the POC members will choose the right leaders,” adding he is banking on the rest of the leaders on his slate to be elected “because it is hard to work if your fellow POC officials are not on the same page.”
Running on his ticket are triathlon chief Tom Carrasco for chairman, basketball head Al Panlilio, first vice president; modern pentathlon and fencing honcho Richard Gomez, second vice president; gymnastics leader Cynthia Carrion, treasurer, and baseball chief Chito Loyzaga, auditor.
Tolentino’s candidates for board members are muay thai secretary general Pearl Managuelod, surfing head Dr. Raul Canlas, judo chief Dave Carter and Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. of chess.