Tight race tipped for other POC posts today

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Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., assured of a third consecutive term as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, sees the next four years as the culmination of his legacy in Philippine sports.

“After the elections, we can go back to what we are supposed to do. This is the culmination of my stint in sports,” said the 78-year-old Cojuangco, who is running unopposed in today’s Philippine Olympic Committee elections at Alabang Country Club.

“I’m really confident that we are on the verge of success. In the Rio Olympics, we have strong candidates for the gold,” he added.

Athletics chief Go Teng Kok backed out from the polls on Wednesday night, clearing the way for the incumbent POC president to serve another term that will end after the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

While Cojuangco’s victory has been cast in stone, it’s a close fight for the other POC positions which the 43 voting members will pick.

POC first vice president Manny Lopez, who is seeking to retain his post against Joey Romasanta of karatedo, may be declared ineligible if boxing president Ricky Vargas shows up in the elections, according to POC legal counsel Wency Andanar.

Lopez is the vice president of Vargas in the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines. Andanar said only one official, with priority given to the president, can represent a national sports association in the exercise.

Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino’s eligibility has also been questioned as the Tagaytay mayor represents chess in running as second vice president under the opposition ticket headed by Lopez and reelectionist POC chair Monico Puentevella.

Prospero Pichay, who is vying to become the auditor of the Olympic body under Cojuangco, is the president of the national chess federation with Tolentino as his secretary general.

The eligibility of golf’s Godofredo Galindez as auditor for the opposition ticket is also unclear. If golf head Tommy Manotoc casts the vote of the National Golf Association of the Philippines, Galindez, secretary general of the NGAP, will be prohibited from seeking office.

Also bidding for a spot in the POC executive committee under Cojuangco’s group are Tom Carrasco of triathlon (chair), Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis (second VP), Julian Camacho of wushu (treasurer) and board members Dave Carter of judo, Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics, Jonne Go of canoe-kayak and Ernesto Echauz of sailing.

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