POC chief doubts sports events can still be held this year
MANILA, Philippines–Except for the continuous training of Olympic-bound athletes, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino doesn’t see any major sporting activity in the country for the remainder of the year.
“I doubt if we can still hold (sports) events for this year,’’ said Tolentino.
So far, regular annual tournaments that are national in scope such as the Palarong Pambansa, Philippine National Games and Batang Pinoy Games, among others, have been shelved indefinitely due to the ongoing new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“There will be a new normal once this is over and we’ll see how our sports activities will fit in,’’ added the Cavite congressman and PhilCycling head.
The House of Representatives has already drafted an act establishing policies and regulations for the workplace and public area norms, along with corresponding penalties.
The only thing that will consistently proceed, Tolentino said, is the training of athletes who already qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, and athletes seeking Olympic spots to join them.
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno and gymnast Carlos Yulo have secured tickets to the Tokyo Summer Games while 62 more Filipino athletes from 18 sports are hoping to join them.
“I’m expecting that our athletes, especially those who made it, will prepare hard to be in peak form for the Olympics,’’ said Tolentino.
“As for those who have yet to qualify, I know they will find ways to seize the opportunity and secure an Olympic spot,’’ he added.
Likewise seeking slots to the Games are Rio 2016 Olympics silver medalist lifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, boxer Nesthy Petecio and golfers Miguel Tabuena, Yuka Saso and Dottie Ardina.
Since qualifying tournaments in all sports have been postponed, Filipino Olympic aspirants have the luxury of time to improve for their qualifiers.
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