POC to honor Filipino SEA Games medalists

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CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Filipino athletes who bagged a medal in their respective sports in the recent 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) will be honored tomorrow by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) during its general assembly at the Knights Templar Hotel in Tagaytay City.

The General Assembly, according to POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, will also welcome the Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas and Philippine Esports Organization, as regular members of the organization. 

“Top on the agenda is honoring our Filipino athletes who competed strongly in the Vietnam SEA Games,” Tolentino said. 

“The country may have relinquished the overall championship, but our athletes were a ‘fighting team’ in Vietnam.”

Team Philippines’ 641 athletes amassed 52 gold medals, 70 silvers, and 105 bronzes for a decent fourth-place finish in the biennial meet.

It was the Philippines’ best finish since 1983’s SEA Games in Singapore where it placed second overall in the medal tally when it is not hosting the games. In 2019, the Philippines topped the medal tally when it hosted the SEA Games. 

Host country, Vietnam topped the meet with 205 gold medals with 125 silvers and 116 bronze medals. Thailand finishing a far second with 92-103-136 gold-silver-bronze and Indonesia landing at third place with 69-91-81. Singapore was fifth with 47-46-43.

“Everyone knew beforehand that Vietnam will relentlessly dominate the games but still, our athletes still held their ground despite limitations in their training and preparations because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tolentino said.

“And to honor and recognize the athletes, the POC is rewarding them with incentives,” said Tolentino, who presided over the POC Executive Board meeting on Saturday at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant in Pasay City. 

“We’re hopeful that when the 32nd SEA Games are hosted by Cambodia in May 2023, our athletes will remain in gold medal form,” he said.

Tolentino, meanwhile, said the kickboxing federation headed by Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino and the esports bodies have completed the requisite to SEA Games participation to warrant their regular membership with the POC.

Kickboxing accounted for two gold, four silver and two bronze medals and esports contributed two golds and two silvers in the Vietnam SEA Games campaign.

The POC will also welcome the Philippine National Rugby League as a recognized member.

“To Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino, maraming salamat po for giving me the honor to head the delegation. To my deputy CDMs Pearl Managuelod and Carl Sambrano and to everyone who contributed one way or the other, daghang salamat,” said PSC commissioner and Team Philippines chef de mission Ramon Fernandez. 

“This was an enlightening and educational experience for yours truly. We fought as one and won as one! Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino!” he said.

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