MANILA - The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Sunday expressed its gratitude to the world and continental governing bodies of tennis, for allowing Filipino athletes to compete in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
This, despite the suspension of the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta).
"The POC is extending its gratitude to the ITF [International Tennis Federation] and ATF [Asian Tennis Federation] for allowing our players to see action in the SEA Games," said POC President Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, who was informed of the two bodies' approval to let Filipino players compete in Hanoi over the weekend.
The ITF suspended the Philta for two years for its failure to elect members of its board who are truly representative of the entire country. The POC followed suit and also suspended the national sports association.
ATF Executive Director Manpreet Kandhari, according to Tolentino, relayed the confirmation which both the POC and Vietnamese organizers of the SEA Games received.
"In line with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] principle to preserve athletes' participation and not unduly punish them when sports institutions are suspended, [the] ITF is in agreement with the ATF Board of Directors to support the inclusion of the players from the Philippines for the South [East] Asian Games, despite the current suspension of the Philta," Kandhari told organizers in Vietnam.
The country, through the POC, is fielding a nine-member team to the SEA Games. They are Jeson Patrombon, Francis Casey Alcantara, Reuben Gonzales, Treat Huey and Eric Olivarez Jr. in the men's division and Alex Eala, Shaira Rivera, Jennayla Trulla and Marian Capadocia.
They will compete in the men's and women's singles, doubles and team events.
Alcantara and Patrombon beat the pair of Huey and Gonzales for a gold-silver finish in men's doubles in the 2019 Games that the country hosted.
Patrombon and Alberto Lim Jr. accounted for the two bronze medals in men's singles also in 2019.