Bambol readies for busy sports calendar next year

Published November 28, 2020, 1:50 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino speaks after being elected as the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) during the Elections for the POC at Pasay City. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino will focus on the country’s plight to various elite tournaments after getting a fresh four-year term Friday.

Prior to his reelection, the Cavite representative said he had successfully lobbied for Congress a P900 million additional budget for the Philippine Sports Commission to boost the training and participation of athletes next year.

Aside from the Tokyo Olympics, national athletes are also gearing up for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, the 4th Asian Youth Games and 6th Asian Beach Games in both China, and the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand.

“This will be a busy year for our athletes and they needed all the support they could get. Dito tayo magfo-focus,” Tolentino said

Tolentino defeated archery chief Clint Aranas, 30-22, for the top post in a proceeding participated by 53 of 54 voters.

Also elected were handball’s Steve Hontiveros (chairman), basketball’s Al Panlilio (first vice president), fencing’s Richard Gomez (second VP), gymnastics’s Cynthia Carrion (treasurer) and baseball’s Chito Loyzaga (auditor).

Surfing’s Raul Canlas, muay’s Pearl Managuelod, netball’s Charlie Ho (28), and judo’s Dave Carter were also elected as board members.

During his one-year term after assuming Ricky Vargas’ post in June 2019, Tolentino included a provision of P180 million additional funding for athletes and coaches in the Bayanihan Act 2 meant to cover their slashed allowances brought by the pandemic.

The PSC is running on “little savings” this year after the government realigned its budget to the pandemic cause.

Tolentino said the additional funding would be of great help for the athletes who are seeking for the elusive first Olympic gold medal.

“This might be our year to win the first Olympic gold,” Tolentino said.