Nonong Araneta, new Olympics chef de mission, wants more athletes for Tokyo 2020
Newly appointed Olympics chef de mission Mariano “Nonong’’ Araneta Jr. is expecting more Filipino athletes to carry the national colors in the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“We normally have a small delegation in the Olympics. But with more sports coming in, we will do our best to have more qualifiers in the Games,’’ said Araneta, the country’s football chief who received the job offer early Tuesday morning.
Team Philippines sent 13 athletes in eight sports during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games and came close to a golden finish when weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won a silver medal.
“`It’s really the athletes who will do it. We’re just here to help them achieve the goal,’’ said Araneta.
The Philippine Olympic Committee general assembly, which convened at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, then ratified his appointment at midday, officially kicking off the quest of the Philippines for its first-ever Olympic gold medal.
“Nonong is a man of action, he’s the right man for the job,’’ said POC president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino in his first general assembly attended by 35 out of 40 national sports associations since his assumption of office two weeks ago.
The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo will feature five new sports in skateboarding, karatedo, sports climbing, surfing and baseball/softball. Golf will be back in the Olympics as well as rugby sevens.
“We have good athletes in skateboarding, karatedo and surfing aside from the traditional sports where we always qualify,’’ said Araneta, who will attend the first CDM meeting next week in Tokyo.
Tolentino, a congressman from Cavite, was pleased with the turnout of yesterday’s GA after the body ratified all of his appointments with hardly any objections.
“It was a smooth meeting. All of us are willing to work together and achieve a common goal,’’ said Tolentino, the country’s cycling chief.
Araneta, the long-time Philippine Football Federation president, is a member of the Fifa Council, the world governing body in the sport.
A former national football player, Araneta is also part of the Asian Football Confederation executive committee and concurrently sits as AFC finance chairman.
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