POC: For national athletes, Aimag is doorway to Asiad
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino declared on Thursday that the path for all national athletes to the 2022 Asian Games, or Asiad, is through the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (Aimag).
“The final composition of the delegation to Hangzhou (China) will be based on the Aimag,’’ said Tolentino. “If the athletes perform well, they’ll be going to the Asian Games. If not, they won’t be on the list.”
The POC has announced that it will be fielding 160 athletes in 21 sports during the Aimag, which gets going March 10 to 20 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Asian Games in Hangzhou is set Sept. 10 to 25 and the country usually sends around 250 to 275 athletes to the quadrennial event, spread across 30 out the 37 sports that will be featured.
The two events will be the largest for Team Philippines next year, thus requiring a bulk of the budget the POC has requested from the national coffers. The POC has requested a P450-million war chest for next year; of that amount, P270 million will be allotted for the Asian Games while P150 million will be spent for the Aimag.
Tolentino submitted the letter of request for supplementary funding in the General Appropriations Act for five major sports tournaments in 2022 to Senate President Vicente “Tito’’ Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Tolentino’s request was coursed through Senate Committee on Appropriations Chair Sen. Sonny Angara while Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez also received a copy since the sports agency will be the recipient of the proposed funding.
“Participation in these high-level sports events is truly significant as these are held only every four years,’’ said Tolentino in the letter of request dated Monday.
Also included in the budget proposal are P5 million for the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Feb. 4 to 20, P10 million for The World Games on July 7 to 22 in Birmingham, Alabama, and P15 million for the Asian Youth Games in Shantou, China, on Dec. 20 to 28.
“Not only will joining these sports events showcase the Filipino brand of athletic talent, but more so elevate the morale of our athletes and inspire other young Filipinos to engage in sports training and development,’’ added Tolentino.
Five big events
He explained the budgetary requirements were based on the total number of participating athletes and the events wherein they will participate, including the training expenditures prior to competition.
“Unfortunately, the allocation requirements for all these major international events were not included in the preparation of the 2022 national budget. Hence, this letter is submitted for your reference and guidance,’’ said Tolentino.
These five international meets, Tolentino emphasized, would sustain the momentum that Philippine sports gained from the recent Tokyo Olympics where the country won its first Olympic gold medal through the heroics of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.