POC eyes gyms, early Paris camp for Hidilyn Diaz, Carlos Yulo
Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo will be among the group of athletes that the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will send to Paris, France, ahead of the 2024 Summer Games.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said the country’s boxing team will also pitch camp in Paris early.
“By sending them to Paris early, it would allow them to adjust by the time they compete in the Olympics,’’ said Tolentino.
The POC chief will have the chance to visit Olympic facilities next month in an ocular inspection for Team Philippines set by the International Olympic Committee.
“Might as well secure the three gyms for gymnastics, weightlifting and boxing once we get there. I heard that only a few gyms are now available since other countries have already rented them,’’ said Tolentino.
Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, who both seized silver medals in the Tokyo Olympics last year, are the favorites to qualify for Paris along with Tokyo bronze medalist Eumir Marcial.
“It’s quite obvious why we chose to set up gyms for these sports,’’ said Tolentino.
Diaz gifted the country its first Olympic gold medal when she ruled the women’s 55-kilogram category in her sport while Yulo, who wasn’t as lucky as Diaz in Tokyo, is the nation’s podium bet in men’s artistic gymnastics following his world titles in the floor exercise and vault.
Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, currently ranked No. 3 in the world, is also strongly considered a medal contender in Paris, having defeated world No. 1 Armand Duplantis in the Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium, early this month.
Tolentino will be in Paris from Oct. 21 to 26 along with POC deputy secretary general Bones Floro and two other officials from the local Olympic body’s legal team.
POC first vice president Al Panlilio has been designated Team Philippines’ chef de mission to the Olympics, but will miss the ocular due to a prior commitment.
“We will have the opportunity to check the facilities, the competition venues and the Olympic village, among others. It allows us to strategize early,’’ said Tolentino.