Tolentino, seeking full POC term, offers to host SEA Games again
Given the opportunity, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino wants to stage the Southeast Asian Games all over again even before the country’s turn comes up in the rotation of hosts.
Tolentino, who is seeking a full term in Friday’s POC elections, said he will propose that the Philippines take the place of any country that is unwilling to commit to the event when their turn as host arrives.
“I offered to host again if ever there are countries that will waive their right to host,’’ Tolentino said on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum. After Vietnam next year, the biennial Games will go to Cambodia in 2023, Thailand in 2025, Brunei in 2027 and Laos in 2029.
“I am serious with that offer. I’m confident we can duplicate what we’ve accomplished last year with our world-class facilities at New Clark City,’’ Tolentino said.
But the SEA Games hosting could end up a polarizing issue for the country. While last year’s event was a success on the sporting side, with the Philippines running away with the overall championship, the hosting was wracked by accusations of overpricing and corruption. The cauldron built for the event, a 50-meter high structure erected at New Clark City, has been the target of critics for its P50-million price tag.
The spending for the SEA Games has even become an issue in the elections, with the group challenging Tolentino, led by lawyer Clint Aranas of the archery federation, asking the court to compel organizers to submit an audit of expenses
According to Tolentino, Indonesia is scheduled to host the SEA Games in 2031, but could pass up the opportunity as it guns for a bigger prize.
“Indonesia’s President [Joko Widodo] himself announced that they might not be able to host in 2031, because of their serious bid for the 2032 Olympics and he said that it’s a pleasure if the Philippines will take over,’’ Tolentino said. INQ
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