POC chief formalizes Olympic training venue in Metz


Posted at Feb 01 2023 11:27 AM

POC President Rep. Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino. Handout photo.
POC President Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino was in France earlier this week to iron out the preparations for the country's campaign in next year's Olympic Games.

The 2024 Summer Games in Paris marks the Philippines' 100th year of participation in the Olympics.

"It's a century of Filipino athletes' campaign in the Olympics," said Tolentino, who formally sealed arrangements for a pre-Olympic training venue at the Academos Sports Center in Moselle in the city of Metz.

"Hidilyn Diaz [Naranjo] won for the country its first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and that was historic," he added. "But how about a more historic centennial Olympic campaign?"

The Philippines debuted in the 1924 Olympics -- also held in Paris -- with David Nepomuceno as its sole representative in the 100- and 200-meters of athletics. 

Since then, the Philippines has competed in 21 more editions of the Summer Games. Their most successful stint came in Tokyo in 2021, where Diaz delivered the country's first-ever gold medal while boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam won silver, and Eumir Marcial won bronze.

In total, the Philippines has 14 Olympic medals -- one gold, five silvers, and eight bronzes.

Tolentino signed last Thursday with officials of the City of Metz led by La Moselle president Patrick Weiten the memorandum of understanding in a ceremony covered by the French media.

France3, one of France Television Group's regional channels, RL or the Le Républicain Lorrain, and Letz Go Metz were among the French media who diligently covered the ceremony.

A video clip of Diaz-Naranjo's gold medal campaign in Tokyo as well as those of boxing silver medalists Petecio and Paalam and bronze medalist Marcial were featured on French television.

The Philippines was the first to sign a training agreement with Moselle, one of the hundreds of pre-Games training centers for Paris 2024 that are certified by both the French organizers and the International Olympic Committee.

The pre-Olympic training program, which covers two months before the July 26 to August 11, is also the first in POC history.

"We have the capacity to welcome, support and offer sports equipment commensurate with the Olympic challenges," Weiten told the same media interview. "Every time a Filipino athlete performs on an Olympic Games site [as long as he is not in competition with a Frenchman], he will have the support of Moselle."

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