PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino has remained in France to iron out in earnest the country’s campaign for next year’s Olympics.
The reason for his enthusiasm and passion? The Philippines marks 100 years of participation in the Olympics in 2024 and, even more significantly, it will again be in Paris.
“It’s a century of Filipino athletes’ campaign in the Olympics,” said Tolentino, who earlier this week 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,” Tolentino said. “But how about a more historic centennial Olympic campaign?”
The Philippines debuted in the Olympics in Paris 1924 with David Nepomuceno as its sole representative in the 100 and 200 meters of athletics.
The country participated in 21 more Olympics after that and after Tokyo Olympics, has collected 14 medals—one gold, five silver and eight bronze medals.
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 Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and bronze medalist Eumir Felix 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.”