The real big news in sports
An official announcement said the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) held its first general assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the 12th floor of the Diamond Hotel.
That may sound plain and routine.
It, in truth, was a great event that carried with it a triumphant twist.
There’s tremendous significance going by the disturbing fragmentation that had prevailed in the POC.
Finally, there’s quiet joy, hope and space for fruitful unity.
It’s the first successful meeting by the general assembly after the election on June 28 of Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino of cycling as POC president.
It’s no secret how opposed sports figures and sectors had tried to pull down and prevent the Tolentino tenure from properly taking off.
Tolentino’s first meeting of the POC executive board did not push through, no thanks to snobbery, outright indifference and mockery. They failed to muster a quorum.
Tolentino, indeed, had to plod hard, walk the tightrope.
For the record, the election of Ricky Vargas as president of the POC last year was, hands down, big national sports news. Of course, there was the thinking that, more than the Vargas election it was the ouster of the overstaying Peping Cojuangco Jr. as POC chief that made the event doubly significant.
Fortunately, there finally was no sight or smell of Cojuangco behind the latest turn of events in the POC.
For the record, Vargas bailed out and quit the POC presidency over complications, killing pressure and what Vargas himself termed the dark culture inside the POC.
There were also claims Vargas had no choice but step down after leading in the incorporation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc),a move deemed illegal and impeachable.
Tolentino, who outvoted Philip Juico of athletics in an emergency POC poll, ascended as POC president after a tight and contentious electoral process.
After the failed first executive board meeting, doubts readily mounted over the holding of the first general assembly under the new POC leadership.
Anyway, in the official POC announcement, it was noted that vacant posts were filled up. POC chair Steve Hontiveros presided in the orderly and dignified assembly.
The first fruit was the long-overdue hammering of a tripartite agreement among the POC, Phisgoc and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Said PSC Chair William “Butch” Ramirez: “With the all-out support of President Duterte, the Philippines can regain the overall championship on top of a successful hosting.”
Until last week, nobody could say how the hosting of the SEA Games would finally turn out.
Now, there’s excitement over a possible recapture of the overall Games championship.
Win or no win, the game-changing general assembly gallantly organized by Tolentino should go down as a top sports story of the year.
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