MANILA – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) officials went to France over the weekend to look for potential training venues to be used by athletes who have qualified for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.
“The goal is to have our qualified athletes to be in Paris at least one month before the Olympics,” said POC President Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino in a statement released to the media on Wednesday.
He was joined by POC deputy secretary general Bones Floro, legal chief Atty. Wharton Chan and manager Carla Maramara during the ocular inspection of the state-of-the art training facilities in weightlifting, boxing and gymnastics.
“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 the proximity to the athletes’ accommodation would be a determining factor in choosing the training facilities.
“I personally inspected the venues to make sure they’re fitted to the needs of our athletes. 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 said.
He said while weightlifting, boxing and gymnastics are given priority for their medal potential, other athletes who will qualify for Paris will be included in the program.
Tolentino said the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will shoulder the expenses for the training facilities as part of the Paris Olympics budget. The POC Executive Board will decide which facility to rent in its next meeting.
“We will ask the PSC to cover the expenses as part of the Olympic journey,” Tolentino said.
The Philippines had its best performance in the Tokyo Olympics last year, winning its first ever gold medal courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz and pocketing two silver medals from boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio and one bronze medal from boxer Eumir Felix Marcial.
Gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter Ernest John "EJ" Obiena both missed the podium in Tokyo but they are potential medalists in Paris.
Yulo, who is based in Japan, is a world champion in floor exercise and vault while the world No. 3 Obiena is training in Europe under a specialized program by legendary Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov.
Paris will host the Olympic Games from July 26 to August 11, 2024. (PNA)