PSC chief declines CDM post for SEAG
by Nick Giongco
It didn’t take long for Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Bambol Tolentino to speak his mind about his new role as chief of mission to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I’d want to see the list of athletes who have the potential to qualify for Tokyo,” said Tolentino just moments after being appointed as CDM on Monday.
“Support is key to their success,” said Tolentino, who replaced POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta after Vargas told the General Assembly that he has lost “trust and confidence” on some key POC officials.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled July 24 to August 9 with 339 gold medals at stake in 33 sports.
Tolentino said that he expects Romasanta to turn over key documents following his appointment so he can prepare when he attends the coming CDM meetings.
So far, the Philippines has yet to send a qualifier to Tokyo although qualifying events are already underway.
“Once there is a qualifier, the first thing to do is make sure he gets all-out support in terms of training,” said Tolentino.
Boxing is a perennial source of legitimate qualifiers to the Olympics while weightlifting, pumped up by Hidilyn Diaz’s silver medal finish in Rio 2016, is expected to take advantage of the momentum by attempting to field more medal bets.
While Tolentino is raring to take over, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez yesterday politely declined the offer to assume the same role over at the Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting from Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
“As the government, we’ll just focus on the needs of the athletes,” said Ramirez, noting that there are other NSA leaders who can fill the void that will soon be left by former taekwondo practitioner Monsour del Rosario.
Alongside Romasanta, Vargas also decided to replace Del Rosario as SEAG CDM, citing “loss of trust and confidence.”
Ramirez, however, didn’t say that he was in favor of retaining Del Rosario and expressed his high regard for the POC leadership for “considering this humble servant.”
“I believe that unity is vital in any endeavor. More so in this ideal, that we all undertake in our own capacities–to push Philippine sports to its highest possibilities.
Despite the crisis, Ramirez has vowed to lend a hand to the country’s hosting.
“I am a public servant. I am bound by duty to deliver what is demanded of me by the law. Whether or not I am CDM in SEAGAMES 2019, I and the PSC will surely provide our full and sincere support to Team Philippines.”
“As the Chairman of the PSC, I call upon all our sports leaders to step back and take a moment to consider peaceful interactions. I still believe that we can all sit down and civilly thresh out what needs to be straightened out. The PSC is open to host a dialogue between parties and provide neutral ground for everyone to air their side and ultimately to either sacrifice or step-up in the interest of a unified sporting community.”