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POC looks for Paris training facility

The Philippine Olympic Committee has started its preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympics by shopping around for a pre-Games training facility for Filipino athletes at the French capital over the weekend.

POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino led the ocular of potential training venues for weightlifting and boxing — sports that delivered the country’s first gold medal, two silvers and one bronze in Tokyo last year — as well as gymnastics, another potential medal source in Paris.

“The goal is to have our qualified athletes to be in Paris at least one month before the Olympics,” said Tolentino, who was joined by POC deputy secretary general Bones Floro, legal chief Wharton Chan and manager Carla Maramara.

“It’s not only us (Philippines) who’s making a reservation for a training facility, but several other countries as well,” Tolentino said.

“It’s first come, first served so we’re making sure we get the best one for our athletes.”

Tolentino said he was impressed by state-of-the-art training facilities in Paris but stressed that the venue’s proximity to the athletes’ accommodation would be a determining factor.

“I personally inspected the venues to make sure they’re fitted to the needs of our athletes,” he said. “We wanted a 3-in-1 facility… at least 10 minutes to and from the athletes accommodation, which should also be equipped with a kitchen.”

Tolentino clarified that although weightlifting, boxing and gymnastics are being prioritized, athletes who qualify for Paris will be included in program.

The Philippine Sports Commission will shoulder expenses for the training facilities as part of the Paris Olympics budget, according to Tolentino who added that the POC will decide on which facility to rent in its upcoming executive board meeting.

“We will ask the PSC to cover the expenses as part of the Olympic journey,” Tolentino said.

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