By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino is hopeful there will be enough budgets for four major international competitions the country will be competing next year.
The lawmaker from Tagaytay City said both leaders of the House and the Senate have assured him the inclusion of the budget for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand, the Huangzhou Asian Games in September and the Shantou Asian Youth Games in December.
The development came after the Department of Budget and Management didn’t allot a single centavo to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) budget for these major events, according to Tolentino.
Tolentino said they are working on the team composition for these events for proper budget allocation by the 18th Congress.
“The budget hearings are coming up so we have to be steadfast,” Tolentino said, adding that the country has to sustain the momentum of its successful Tokyo Olympics campaign where the PH team brought home a historic one gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
“We have our sports heroes in gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial and the 15 other athletes who fought mightily in Tokyo. Their success and how they campaigned changed the landscape of Philippine sports,” Tolentino said.
Earlier, the POC already eyed 160 athletes to compete in the AIMAG with an aim of eclipsing the country’s previous finish of two gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze medals in 2017.
The country booked one of its modest performances in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta where it won four golds that went with two silvers and 15 bronzes.
Figure skaters Edrian Celestino, Sofia Frank and Christopher Caluza, meanwhile, will be vying for qualification for Beijing in an Olympic qualifier in Germany later this month.
The Asian Youth Games were last held in 2013 in Nanjing, China, where the Philippines garnered a 2-4-1 gold-silver-bronze tally.