The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is all geared up for what it considered as the “busiest year in sports” with several major international competitions, as well as tournament hosting responsibilities lined up this year.
POC president Bambol Tolentino said they are hands-on with the preparations of these competitions starting with the country’s participation in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in May.
Other major events lined up for athletes are the World Beach Games in Indonesia in August, the 19th Asian Games in China in September, the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand in November and some qualification tournaments for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The country is also expected to host the first Asian BMX Championships in July to be held in Tagaytay, as well as the 11th Asian Swimming Championships set in New Clark City, Tarlac.
Tolentino also disclosed their intention to host the World Mobile Legends Championships.
In between these programs are several tune-up events abroad.
“We have a jam-packed schedule this year, and we’re doing our best that our preparations for these events will be smooth,” said Tolentino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at East Ocean Palace Restaurant in Parañaque City.
Tolentino said their focus as of the moment is the country’s participation in the SEAG where he reiterated that making into the top four in the overall standings would be an uphill battle.
“SEA Games, pinakamalapit na tournament natin. Kinakabahan ako dito because of the formula of Cambodia where they put a participation cap on all martial arts and some non-martial arts sports,” said Tolentino.
Karate is one of the sports where all but the host country can only join a maximum of 10 from the 15 events lined up.
Some sports are also in danger of being scrapped like muay and petanque.
“Based on their formula, di kayang mag-overall champion ng Cambodia, pero lalaban yan sa second, third or fourth. I think it would be tough for us, pero tingnan natin, with the promises of other sports,” Tolentino said.
The country finished fourth in the previous edition held in Vietnam with 52 gold, 70 silver and 104 bronze medals.