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Tolentino hopes typhoons won’t hamper SEA Games preparations

Cavite Cong. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino during the POC’s general Assembly at Diamond Hotel. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino admitted they have some catching up to do in the preparations for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which is just 3 months away.

But the newly elected POC official is confident that the country’s hosting of the games will ensue without a hitch now that the key stakeholders have ironed things out. 

“Medyo nahuli ng kaunti pero we’re trying to catch up. All the facilities naman on time, training ongoing,” said Tolentino during their first general assembly since he was elected POC president.

The PhilCycling chief took over the remaining term of former POC president Ricky Vargas, who resigned following an internal squabble.

“I thank all the members sa general assembly. Smooth, may debates, may sharing of information, transparent, everything. Hopefully, tuloy-tuloy na ito,” he said.

During the assembly, the POC announced the appointment of Philippine Football Association president Nonong Araneta as the country’s chef de mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Other appointments include Stephen Hontiveros as chairman; Atty. Edwin Gastanes as secretary-general; and Sonny Barrios as 2nd deputy secretary-general in charge of administrative matters.

The POC is set to sign a tripartite agreement with the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) for the SEA Games preparations.

But there’s one thing that could throw a monkey wrench in the country’s hosting: bad weather. 

“The SEA Games is in November, so dadaan pa ang August, September, October. Ang lalakas ng typhoon nyan, so sana ‘wag namang tamaan yung mga lugar na may preparations or else kailangan ng massive repairs ‘yan. ‘Wag naman sana. That’s my only concern,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino is referring to the P13-billion world-class New Clark City sports complex in Capas, Tarlac where many of the events will take place.

Still being built in the complex are the 20,000-seater Athletic Stadium and the 2,000-seater Aquatic Center. It also has two track ovals for for track-and-field events, an Athletes’ Village that has 2,100 beds, a 1.4-km river park, and government buildings.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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