Curling body seeks membership in POC

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THE newly-formed Curling Winter Sports Association of the Philippines Inc. (CWSAP) headed by Benjo Delarmente applied for membership with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) with an immediate mission of fielding a national team to the 2026 Winter Olympics.

“We—Curling Winter Sports Association of the Philippines—are applying for membership with the POC in order to represent and bring home glory for our country in international winter competitions,” Delarmente said.

Delarmente said that the CWSAP currently has 20 members, including 15 Filipino athletes who have already competed at the World Men’s Junior Curling Championships and US Women’s and US Junior Curling Championships.

The organization is based in Vallejo, California.

With Delarmente at the CWSAP are vice president and secretary Joselito Cruz, secretary general Charles Walker and members of the board of trustees Donna Umali, Micha Ella Suarez, Alan Frei and Jim Palomar Apelar.

Apelar is the president of the Philippines Ski and Snowboard Federation who was with Delarmente during the campaign of Filipino-American skier Asa Miller at the Beijing Winter Olympics last year.

Curling was played in the 1924 Chamonix Winter Olympics and was reinstated in the 1998 Nagano Games. Also a Paralympic winter team sport, curling is played on ice where two teams take turns to slide the granite stone towards a target known as a house.

“We have a realistic shot at qualifying for 2026 because most of our athletes can become highly-skilled in this sport, while some of them are competing already in several competitions abroad,” Delarmente said.

The CWSAP needs the POC’s recognition to be admitted by the World Curling Federation, which recognizes only Thailand in the Southeast Asian region.

Competitions in curling are in the men, women, mixed doubles and mixes wheelchair team categories.

“It has both mental and physical components to it,” Delarmente said. “You can also describe curling as a combination of bowling, billiards and chess on ice—three sports activities that Filipinos love.”

The Philippines despite its tropical climate has sent athletes, practically all of them foreign-based, to the Winter Olympics in skiing and ice skating. There’s also national ice hockey teams for men and women which are vying in regional and international competitions.

To make the Olymics, Filipino athletes need to win in Division B of the Pan-Continental Curling Championships later this year to get into Division A in 2024. A top 5 ranking in 2024 would earn the country a ticket to the world championships in 2025.

“A country that competes in the world championship will be eligible to compete at the Olympic qualifying event that has three spots,” Delarmente said.

The POC, headed by Rep. Abraham Tolentino, has as members the Philippines Ski and Snowboard Federation and the Philippine Skating Union.

Italy is hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano Cortina.

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