OCA confab puts in focus PH as host

By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 15 2014 07:43 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2014 03:43 AM

MANILA, Philippines - For two days this week, the Philippines will be at the center of Asian sports.

As host of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) executive board meeting and general assembly, the Philippines also gets to show the rest of Asia what it has to offer.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco said it’s way beyond sports.

“This will be an opportunity for us to show the world what kind of people we are,” said Cojuangco during yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.

Special guest during the weekly forum was Vinod Kumar Tiwari, director for International and National Olympic Relations of OCA. Also present was POC vice president Jose Romasanta.

While OCA officials, led by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, will focus on the immediate plans and programs of OCA, they will have an eye glued on the Philippines.

“Let us not limit this event to just sports. This is for the country. This is a chance to display the resiliency of the Filipino people that despite what happened we are able to host this.

“And we should be thankful to the OCA through Sheikh Ahmad. He insisted that this be held in Manila.

“He promised to help us as long as we continue to host the event here,” said Cojuangco.

Aside from Sheikh Al-Sabah, who’s flying in tonight on his private jet, gracing the affair is the Prince of Jordan, Faisal Bin Al-Hussein, among other dignitaries.

“I hope we can show them the real Filipino hospitality. These are the big people of their respective countries,” he added.

The event was originally scheduled last November in Boracay but was postponed after Typhoon Yolanda hit the country.

A couple of countries volunteered to take over the hosting. However, the OCA president said the Philippines, as host of the inaugural Far Eastern Games, now the Asian Games, in 1913, deserved the honor.

“The president of OCA was adamant that we had to have it here. I’m sure with help of POC we would have a fantastic ceremony and a successful general assembly,” said Tiwari.

Romasanta said it’s a very good opportunity for the Philippines to be seen up close by its Asian counterparts.

“It opens up the country and hopefully more people will get interested. We heard reports that after the SEA Games, investors have shown interest on Myanmar,” he said.

“This event will connect the Philippines to the rest of Asia. And this is very important for us in terms of recognition by the OCA,” Romasanta added.

The executive council meeting and the Asian Games Centennial celebrations are scheduled Friday at Sofitel Hotel. During the evening affair, Asian songbird Regine Velasquez will perform.

The general assembly is set Saturday and will be followed by an OCA press conference at 5 p.m. at the PICC.

During the forum, the POC chief said he’s not giving up on the Philippines hosting the Asian Games someday. The last time the event was held in the country was in 1954.

“But we have to be decisive. It should be a national effort and not only the POC,” he said.