PSC, POC kick off SEAG buildup

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF POC POC president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino (second from right) presides over a meeting with PSC chairperson Richard ‘Dickie’ Bachmann (fifth from right) to tackle pressing matters regarding the country’s participation in the 32nd SEA Games.

A first-time meeting between Philippine Olympic Committee and newly-appointed Philippine Sports Commission brass happened late Wednesday to get the pedals circling for the country preparations for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino yesterday said they finally buckled down to work with their counterparts in the government sports agency to, once and for all, kick off the country’s preparation for the biennial meet set from 5 to 17 May in Phnom Penh.

“It was a fellowship and working dinner meeting that delved more on the training of the SEA Games-bound athletes,” Tolentino, also head of the national cycling association, said.

“There, too, were discussions on equipment that would be handed over to national sports associations and even local government units.”

But issues on the late transmission of technical handbooks on the 49 sports that Cambodia has programmed for Games are hampering preparations that Tolentino described as “already late in the day.”

“The technical handbooks were issued only days ago and most of them contain some errors, mistakes the host organizer has apologized for,” Tolentino said.

The Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee set a deadline for the entry by numbers last Saturday but Tolentino said revisions had to be made on Team Philippines’ entry.

PSC chairperson Richard “Dickie” Bachmann met with Tolentino for the second time since his appointment last 28 December and brought with him commissioners Walter Torres and Olivia “Bong” Coo. Absent was commissioner Edward Hayco.

With Tolentino were POC auditor and Team Philippines chief of mission to Cambodia Chito Loyzaga, chairperson Steve Hontiveros, secretary-general Atty. Edwin Gastanes, treasurer Cynthia Carrion-Norton and Athletes Commission head Nikko Huelgas.

The fellowship-cum-working dinner between the POC and PSC precedes a meeting late yesterday among members of Loyzaga’s team and the secretariat ahead of only the first Chef de Mission Meeting that organizers set for 24 and 25 January in Phnom Penh.

Loyzaga has earlier stared at an 800-athlete Team Philippines and a total delegation of 1,200 — counting the coaches, medical and administrative staff.

The PSC, on the other hand, has allocated from general appropriations a P250 million budget for Cambodia, which is hosting 608 events in 49 sports, far bigger than the 530 events in 56 sports in the 2019 edition the Philippines hosted and the 526 events in 40 sports in Vietnam last year.

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