PHILIPPPINE Olympic Committee president Rep. Bambol Tolentino may have found himself some new supporters in his re-election bid in 2020 after the POC general assembly unanimously approved the application for regular membership of six national sports associations last Tuesday.
During its general assembly meeting at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City, the POC gave the nod to the NSAs of modern pentathlon, surfing, bridge, kurash, jiu-jitsu and sambo, raising the list of regular members to 49 from 43. Representatives of the six disciplines received their certificates of regular membership Tolentino.
In approving modern pentathlon, led by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, Tolentino pointed out that “modern pentathlon has been one of the founding sports of the modern Olympic Games” although the discipline made its Southeast Asian Games debut only in the recent edition hosted by the country.
Gomez, who lobbied for the inclusion of modern pentathlon in the regional games, is also the president of the Philippine Fencing Association, making him the head of two regular NSAs.
Surfing, which also made its SEA Games debut recently, will be part of the Sixth Asian Beach Games, a meet organized by the Olympic Council of Asia every four years, to be held in Sanya, China in November next year.
Bridge was last held in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia and was also a regular medal sport during the 2018 Asian Games in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and the West Sumatran provincial capital of Palembang.
The combat sports of kurash, jiu-jitsu and sambo all made their SEA Games debut in the country. They were among the combat sports staged in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Tolentino was elected as the new POC president last July 28, beating athletics chief Philip Ella 24-20. The post was left vacant when boxing chief Ricky Vargas, citing professional and personal reasons, stepped down.
The Tagaytay congressman has made clear of his intention to secure a full four-year term in the next POC regular election in November next year after the Tokyo Olympic Games.
He hinted that two more NSAs are also poised to gain full membership status.
Among the likely candidates is dancesport that is headed by longtime president Becky Garcia and whose athletes won 10 gold medals in the just concluded SEA Games. The discipline was also a regular medal sport in the 2013 and 2017 Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games.
Meanwhile, the national team that emerged overall champion in the recent SEA Games was awarded the Order of Lapu-lapu yesterday at Malacanang.
Almost 600 medalists called on President Duterte to receive their cash incentives and were conferred the award which is given to those who are “deserving of merit and recognition and to fully express the President’s appreciation of the Filipino people’s contributions to the success of the campaigns and programs of the Government.”
Led by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, the national team chef of mission, the athletes were warmly received by the President at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang Palace.
Under the incentives law, a gold medal is worth P300,000, silver P150,000 and bronze P60,000. Incentives for the athletes alone totaled nearly P79 million.
Pauline Lopez of taekwondo, Marck Jesus Espejo of volleyball and Jasmine Alkhaldi of swimming represented the gold, silver and bronze medalists, respectively and received the check from the President.