Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino is confident more Filipino athletes will earn berths to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics following the recent addition of boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam to the Japan-bound contingent.
Tolentino cited several athletes including 2021 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, 2018 Asian Games gold medalist in skateboarding Margie Didal, and golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan as among those who have the highest chance of getting Olympic slots.
He also mentioned national sports associations in athletics, rowing, karate and judo, which have upcoming Olympic qualification tournaments lined up.
“I think we have less than 80 (athletes) pa na lalabas for qualifying, so baka makasungkit pa tayo aside from the wildcard,” Tolentino said during his guesting at Noli Eala’s Power and Play program Saturday, March 20.
So far, the country has six Olympic qualifiers in Petecio, Paalam, fellow boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo.
All qualifiers are already training abroad with Petecio, Paalam and Magno in Thailand, Marcial in the United States, Obiena in Italy and Yulo in Japan.
Meanwhile, Tolentino also aired his sentiments on the recent issues raised by Magno and Marcial in their social media accounts about delayed allowances and assistance.
“Normal lang naman sa mga atleta na siyempre maghanap sila, but we have to understand din the government side. Medyo malalim ito. Hindi lang PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) ang naghahabol ng funding. Pati pambili ng bakuna, naghahabol tayo ng funding,” said Tolentino.
“With that premise – ako kasi naiintindihan ko from the government side and private side – na hindi ganung kadali ngayon yung liquidity ng isang agency dahil naghihikahos nga ang economy natin,” added Tolentino, who is also Philcycling President and Tagaytay City Representative.
Tolentino hopes as veterans, athletes would understand the situation.
“What is due is due, sabi nga. Ibibigay naman yan.”