(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will honor the medalists in the recent Vietnam 31st Southeast Asian Games on top of announcing the release of their financial incentives during its General Assembly -- the sixth for the year -- at the Knights Templar Hotel in Tagaytay City on Monday.

The General Assembly, according to POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, will also welcome the Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas and Philippine Esports Organization, as regular members of the organization.

“Tops on the agenda is honoring our Filipino athletes who competed strongly in the Vietnam SEA Games,” Tolentino said in a news release on Sunday. “The country may have relinquished the overall championship, but our athletes were a ‘fighting team’ in Vietnam.”

Filipino athletes finished fourth in the medals race with 52 gold, 70 silver and 105 bronze medals—the best finish by the country when it’s not hosting the games -- in the May 12 to 23 competitions that Vietnam exaggeratedly ruled with a haul of 205 gold medals with 125 silvers and 116 bronze medals.

The host’s haul was 40 percent of the 522 events spread out to 40 sports with Thailand finishing a far second with 92-103-136 gold-silver-bronze and Indonesia landing at third place with 69-91-81. Singapore was fifth with 47-46-43.

“Everyone knew beforehand that Vietnam will relentlessly dominate the games but still, our athletes still held their ground despite limitations in their training and preparations because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Tolentino said.

“And to honor and recognize the athletes, the POC is rewarding them with incentives,” said Tolentino, who presided over the POC Executive Board meeting on Saturday at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant in Pasay City. “We’re hopeful that when the 32nd SEA Games are hosted by Cambodia in May 2023, our athletes will remain in gold medal form.”

Meanwhile, the kickboxing federation headed by Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino and the esports bodies have completed the requisite two SEA Games participation to warrant their regular membership with the POC.

Kickboxing accounted for two gold, four silver and two bronze medals and esports contributed two golds and two silvers in the Vietnam SEA Games campaign.

The POC will also welcome the Philippine National Rugby League as a recognized member. (PR)