Unity key in PH quest for Games gold

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After the hotly contested Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) polls last week, sports leaders feel that this is the right time for unity so that the country can achieve its long-cherished goal of winning a first Olympic gold medal.

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Abraham Toletino defeated Clint Aranas for the POC presidency, and former basketball godfather and Philippine National Federation of Polo Players official Mikee Romero is urging everyone to get rid of politics in sports and instead work together for the common good of the Filipino athletes.

“We have to plan and work as one because the coming Tokyo Games is really our best chance [to win a gold medal],” Romero, also the deputy speaker of the House, said on Monday. “No more politics in sports because it destroys the values of ‘Olympism.’”

Tolentino, also the Cavite representative and cycling federation head, won his first full four-year term by beating Aranas of archery in an election that had all the mudslinging never before seen in sports.

“Let’s work together with [the POC president] for the sake of Philippine sports,” Romero, who owns NorthPort in the Philippine Basketball Association, said.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Games organizers estimate the cost of COVID-19 countermeasures for next year’s rearranged Olympics will run to around 100 billion yen ($960 million), Kyodo News reported on Monday.

Japanese media had reported a day earlier that the total costs of delaying the Games for a year would run to 200 billion yen.

Apart from the Tokyo Games that was rescheduled in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines will also be preparing next year for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, the fourth Asian Youth Games and sixth Asian Beach Games in China, and the sixth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand.

It was also under Tolentino’s watch that the Philippine regained the overall title in the SEA Games, when it hosted the biennial meet last year and broke medal records in the process.

Boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, pole vauler EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo have already qualified for the next year’s Games, and the country is looking to send more, counting 2016 Rio silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan (golf) and a number of other athletes in combat sports and skateboarding ace Margielyn Didal. —With a report from Reuters


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