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Saturday, July 13, 2024

POC checks training facilities in Paris

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The Philippine Olympic Committee has gone steps ahead of preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics by shopping around for a pre-games training facility for Filipino athletes at the French capital over the weekend.

POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino (sixth from left) and deputy secretary general Bones Floro (right) are in a discussion with French sports facility officials.

POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino led an early bird team that conducted an ocular of potential training venues for weightlifting and boxing—sports that delivered the country’s first gold medal, two silvers and one bronze in Tokyo last year—as well as gymnastics, another potential medal source in Paris.

“The goal is to have our qualified athletes to be in Paris at least one month before the Olympics,” said Tolentino, who was joined in the ocular by POC deputy secretary general Bones Floro, legal chief Atty. Wharton Chan and manager Carla Maramara.

“It’s not only us [Philippines] who’s making a reservation for a training facility, but several other countries as well,” Tolentino said. “It’s first come, first served so we’re making sure we get the best one for our athletes.”

Tolentino said he was impressed by state-of-the-art training facilities in Paris but stressed that the venue’s proximity to the athletes’ accommodation would be a determining factor.

“I personally inspected the venues to make sure they’re fitted to the needs of our athletes,” he said. “We wanted a 3-in-1 facility … at least 10 minutes to and from the athletes accommodation, which should also be equipped with a kitchen.”

Tolentino clarified that although weightlifting, boxing and gymnastics are being prioritized for their medal potential, athletes who qualify for Paris will be included in program.

The Philippine Sports Commission will shoulder expenses for the training facilities as part of the Paris Olympics budget, according to Tolentino who added that the POC will decide on which facility to rent in its upcoming executive board meeting.

“We will ask the PSC to cover the expenses as part of the Olympic journey,” Tolentino said.

The Philippines booked its best Olympic performance so far in Tokyo last year with Hidilyn Diaz winning gold in weightlifting and Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio bagging silvers and Eumir Felix Marcial clinching bronze in boxing.

Although Carlos Yulo missed the podium in Tokyo, his gymnastics world championships gold medals in floor exercise and vault make him a potential medalist Paris.

Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, ranked No. 3 in the world in men’s pole vault who’s also a Tokyo Olympian like Yulo, is based in Europe and will be using a specialized program set by legendary Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov.

Paris will host its third Olympics—the most by any city so far with Los Angeles bound to host a third time in 2028—from July 26 to August 11.


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