Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham 'Bambol" Tolentino. (Contributed photo) 

MANILA – It will be a busy year for the national athletes who are going to compete in five major international competitions.

First in the calendar is the 32nd Southeast Asian Games which will be hosted by Cambodia from May 5 to 17. Next is the 2nd World Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia (Aug. 5-12) followed by 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (Sept. 23-Oct. 8), World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Oct. 21-30) and 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand (Nov. 17-26).

The heads of the delegation to the five tournaments, namely baseball’s Chito Loyzaga (SEA Games), fencing and pentathlon’s Richard Gomez (World Beach Games), surfing’s Dr. Jose Raul Canlas (Asian Games), wrestling’s Alvin Aguilar (World Combat Games) and karate’s Richard Lim (AIMAG) will be busy, too.

“That’s how busy Filipino athletes will be as sports competitions return almost all at the same time as pandemic restrictions are dramatically eased worldwide,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president, Representative Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, in a statement released to the media on Friday.

Meanwhile, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio begged off as chef de mission (CDM) to the 2024 Paris Olympics due to leadership responsibilities and obligations at the SBP, PLDT and Smart.

“My current leadership roles and ongoing matters in the said organizations may not give me the full capacity for the CDM role,” Panlilio said in his letter to Tolentino. “In as much as I would be so delighted to accept this assignment, I had to regretfully decline this most prestigious position.”

“I will continue to provide support to the POC so that our athletes can replicate or even surpass our great showing at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, but I believe providing help outside of the CDM role should allow the POC a great opportunity to add another helping hand, which would only benefit our athletes further," Panlilio added.

The POC will announce a replacement for Panlilio next week. (PNA)