THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) established on Thursday its “French Connection” whose mission is to help guarantee the preparedness both physically and mentally of Filipino athletes who qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“We in the POC are making sure our qualified athletes are well-prepared and acclimatized for the Paris Olympics,” said POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino after sealing the partnership with officials of the City of Metz in France.
Tolentino and La Moselle President Patrick Weiten signed the memorandum of understanding in a ceremony intended to be formal and simple but turned as a press event with local French media covering the event.
The MOA covers the use of sports facilities for practically all sports as well as accommodation and food for Filipino athletes who qualify for the Games.
“The qualified athletes will train here for two months before the Olympics open,” Tolentino said.
The Paris Olympics are set 545 days away from July 26 to August 11.
The two-month pre-Olympic training is a never-done-before endeavor by the POC, according to Tolentino.
Metz is some 300 kms west of Paris and boasts of an environment well suited for athletes’ training. It has a 3,000-year rich historical, cultural and architectural background that put it on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Weiten, on the other hand, is a veteran community leader in France and is a noted urban engineer.
Tolentino said the POC aims to help qualify for Paris more than the 19 athletes that competed at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.