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POC eyes solid Olympic squad

The Philippine Olympic Committee is looking to come up with a solid team that will vie in the Paris Olympics in 2024.

POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino yesterday said they want to have at least 12 athletes to sustain the momentum they had when Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first gold medal in the Tokyo Summer Games in 2021.

He refused to name the potential Olympic bidders, but expressed optimism to a “bountiful” Paris campaign now that they enjoy a harmonious relationship with the Philippine Sports Commission headed by Emmannuel “Noli” Eala.

Diaz is currently competing in the 2022 IWF World Weightlifting Championships with the hopes of becoming the first Filipino to qualify in the Summer Games that will open on 26 July 2024.

Aside from Diaz, other Filipino athletes with handsome chances of joining the Olympic squad are Carlos Yulo of gymnastics, EJ Obiena and Kristina Knott of athletics, Kayla Sanchez of swimming, Kiyomi Watanabe of judo and Margielyn Didal of skateboarding.

“That’s our secret: Our relationship with the PSC is getting better and better,” Tolentino said during the POC general assembly last Thursday.

Tolentino, also the mayor of Tagaytay City, said he was given a marching order by no less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to either match or surpass the country’s performance in the previous Summer Games of one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

He said he replied in the affirmative and vowed to do more when the country competes in the Paris Olympics two years from now.

“I just told the President that we delivered a lot of Olympic medals during the past administration and he replied that it’s not enough and he wants more,” the POC chief stressed.

“So, I answered: Yes, Mr. President. We’ll do more in the Paris Olympics.”

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