Cojuangco eyeing POC presidency for fourth time
The man at the helm of the local Olympic body in three successive Summer Games where the country failed to bring home a single medal is said to be running again for a fourth four-year term next year.
Former Tarlac congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. has expressed interest in standing again as president in the Philippine Olympic Committee elections, according to POC treasurer Julian Camaco.
“He (Cojuangco) says that he wants to continue serving Philippine sports. Why not? He’s still strong,” said Camacho, also the secretary general of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines.
“With ‘Cong’ Peping, the POC has been running smoothly. We don’t see any reason to change that.”
The POC and the national sports associations (NSAs) are gearing up for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where the country hopes to end a 20-year medal drought.
Boxing’s Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won the country’s last medal—a silver—in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Camacho said the POC polls have been calendared on Nov. 25 next year with the majority of the incumbent officers likely to seek reelection.
Without any challenger in the previous elections in 2012, the 81-year-old Cojuangco gained his third four-year mandate. He got the votes of 32 of the 42 regular NSAs.
Cojuangco won the POC presidency in 2004, taking over from fencing chief Cito Dayrit.
He has been pushing for government support to his dream of building a 50-hectare modern training facility for the national athletes at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
“There are still plenty of things to do (in the POC), especially the construction of our training center,” said Camacho, noting that initial talks among the officials of the Clark Freeport and the Philippine Sports Commission had bogged down.
POC chair Tom Carrasco (triathlon), first vice president Joey Romasanta (volleyball), second vice president Jeff Tamayo (soft tennis), auditor Prospero Pichay (chess) and board members Cynthia Carrion (gymnastics), Dave Carter (judo), Jonne Go (canoe-kayak) and Ernest Echauz (sailing) comprise the Olympic body’s executive committee. With a report from Steve Silva, Contributor