POC president Tolentino hoping for 'minimum of one' gold in Tokyo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2021 04:49 PM

POC president Tolentino hoping for 'minimum of one' gold in Tokyo 1

MANILA, Philippines -- As the Tokyo Olympic Games draw nearer, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Ppesident Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino grows in confidence that Filipino athletes can deliver the country's first-ever gold.

The Philippines ended a 20-year medal drought in 2016 when weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won a silver at the Rio de Janeiro Games, and Tolentino is upbeat that the delegation to Tokyo can build on her feat.

Six Filipino athletes are assured of spots in the Summer Games: boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

Tolentino expects more athletes to join them, including Diaz who just needs to join one more qualifier to formalize her entry to her fourth Olympic Games. Skateboarder Margielyn Didal and golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan are also expected to qualify.

Speaking to former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on "Power and Play," Tolentino stressed that the upcoming Olympics "might be our chance" to bring home the elusive gold, given the caliber of athletes that the Philippines will send.

"God willing, minimum one (gold medal)," said Tolentino. "Minimum one."

Tolentino has reason to be confident, as Yulo and Petecio are both world champions, while Marcial was a silver medalist in the 2019 AIBA World Championships. Obiena has been putting up strong results during the indoor season in Europe, while Diaz is currently ranked fifth in the world behind four Chinese lifters.

"Ang importante, matuloy (ang Olympics)," said Tolentino. "Kasi… this might be our chance, the best chance (for the gold)."

"This would be our first, so minimum (of) one, God willing," he added.

The POC is currently studying the playbook sent by the International Olympic Committee to all its members, where they gave specific guidelines for athletes, coaches, and other members of the delegations. 

Already, the playbook has forced a change of plans from the POC.

"'Yung dating binabalak ng Pilipinas na two months before Olympics, pupunta na ang team natin doon, medyo parang 'di papayagan sa protocol," Tolentino revealed. "Kasi ang nakalagay doon, mabilis lang 'yung pagdating, maybe two to three days before your event, then after your event, balik ka na, alis ka na."

"So, ganun ang ano doon, in and out lang, in and out. Mabigat talaga 'yung protocols," he added.