By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games will be the Philippine Olympic Committee’s main priority, says newly-elected president Bambol Tolentino.
Tolentino, who won over track and field chief Popoy Juico in Sunday’s special elections, stressed that the POC is not diverting its focus from the biennial meet after he assumed the post vacated earlier by boxing chief Ricky Vargas.
“We’re not moving away from that direction,” said Tolentino, who also heads the national cycling association.
“We have only a few months to go. We’re still in that direction where the PHISGOC, the POC and the PSC will work together for the success of the SEA Games,” he added, referring to the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.
The three agencies have been working hand-in-hand in speeding up hosting preparations and even showed their unified front during a “Unity Meeting” at the Malacañang Palace a week ago along with athletes, officials and top government officials.
After the SEA Games, Tolentino said they will set their mark on the country’s hosting of the 10th ASEAN Para Games on Jan. 18 to 25 and the country’s participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Tolentino will only be serving the remainder of Vargas’ term until November next year, but seeks to make it productive for the athletes’ well-being.
Also being elected along with Tolentino were handball’s Steve Hontiveros as chairman and board members Clint Aranas of archery and Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics.
They will join holdovers in the executive council that include first vice president Joey Romasanta of volleyball, second VP Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis, treasurer Julian Camacho of wushu, auditor Jonne Go of canoe-kayak and board members Robert Mananquil of billiards and Prospero Pichay of chess.
Tolentino also plans to recommend basketball’s Pato Gregorio as secretary-general, fencing chief Richard Gomez deputy secretary-general and Lucas Managuelod of muay as membership committee chairman.