No stopping Cojuangco’s coronation?
I have drawn a blank from people I seek clarification from.
My latest frustration is not getting a response from Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco who faces no opposition, not even a token one when he runs for an unprecedented fourth term as the country’s Olympic chief next month.
I have called, e-mailed and texted Mr. Cojuangco, not to ask him why responsible and qualified sports officials are running away from a good fight for not challenging him.
I have tried hard touching base with the man to ask why 12 years at the POC’s helm on a horrendous record is not enough.
I wanted to give the 82-year old former Tarlac congressman the floor via the written word–to avoid misquotations–for an unfettered response about the overstaying issue and what he is going to do for another four years.
No luck, so far.
Even his trusted lieutenant, POC first vice president Joey Romasanta, the most responsive sports bureaucrat in my book, has not helped one bit. It was Joey’s idea in the first place that I corner his boss for a statement, lengthy or otherwise.
While refusing to talk in detail, Cojuangco has telegraphed some of his thoughts as his coronation draws near–barring a last minute challenge from a formidable contender –during the POC polls on Nov. 25.
Cojuangco predicted in a recent speech that we are ripe for two gold medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, if a public-private partnership would go all out to back our national talent pool.
Fellow Inquirer sports columnist Beth Celis reported that Cojuangco expects the gold to come from karate, taekwondo and boxing—a bold prediction indeed!
Our karatedos and jins –although excelling in other fronts, have continued to frustrate when it comes to Olympic qualifying. Our boxers, over-trained and over exposed globally have given us nothing but heartaches.
What about Hidilyn Diaz, whose silver in the recent Rio de Janeiro Summer Games snapped our 20-year Olympic medal drought? Did Cojuangco’s mind suddenly escape her?
Hidilyn has vowed she will truly aim for the stars four years from now and concentrate on winning gold in Tokyo, a goal supported by Philippine Sports Commission Chair Butch Ramirez, provided she stays away from show business,.
Ramirez and Cojuangco, the most powerful sports honchos in the land, have their own ideas about our Olympic preparations.
Cojuangco says he wants to have a direct hand in honing PH athletes for international meets leading to the Olympiad.
Hold your horses, says Ramirez. The PSC chief asserts that the days of his agency as purse string holder for national sports associations in the POC’s fold are over.
He told scribes recently the Duterte administration (rough translation: himself) wants to play a bigger role in the training of elite athletes.
It’s easy to read coming conflict.
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Domingo Tolentino, a high school classmate has succumbed to cancer. The loyal Inquirer reader was 67. Kuya D became known to a segment of Manila’s LGBT community for his show and dance impersonation of Eartha Kitt, and to many Tarlac residents for helping build the mountaintop Monasterio de Tarlac patterned after Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Catholic pilgrimage site. Kuya D’s cremated remains will be interred in Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija on October 17. Farewell friend.