by Waylon Galvez
Athletics president Philip Ella Juico said focus should now be on the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games after the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) had its special election Sunday at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.
Juico lost to cycling chief Cong. Bambol Tolentino in the IOC-ordered POC polls, perhaps ending weeks of squabbling that involved factions of top officials from different national sports associations, which put in peril the SEA Games staging here this November.
However, the head of the track and field association, despite losing to Tolentino, encouraged his fellow NSA officials to now turn to preparation for the biennial meet as the country will not just host the SEA Games but will try to win the overall title for the first time in 14 years or since the 2005 event here.
“That’s the more important goal in the sense that we as a country we have to perform well,” said Juico, also a former head of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Juico in particular wants athletics to deliver gold medals to contribute in the national team’s campaign in the SEA Games, saying: “Now I can go back and focus on track and field, and hope to be a major contributor to our gold medal output in the SEA Games.”
As for the POC election where he lost to Tolentino, 24-20, Juico said he accepts the results.
He in fact offers his help if it is needed by the new POC president.
“That’s the outcome… you win some, you lose some,” said Juico. “Perhaps there are opportunities that will be open. Some windows close, other doors open.”
“I cannot say it’s OK, but that’s the result, you deal with it. If we can be of any help, we’re just a text or call away. If we can be of any value to you, we’re here… at least I am,” he added.
Tolentino’s term as president will end November next year – since he is just finishing the term of boxing chief Ricky Vargas after the later stepped down as POC president.
Asked if he will again aim for the POC’s top post, Juico isn’t committing to it.
“It’s too early to say something about that, too premature,” he said.