Longtime PH sports leader Celso Dayrit dies of COVID-19

Celso "Cito" Dayrit, who served Philippine sports in several capacities, died Wednesday night, April 28, due to COVID-19, Philippine Fencing Association secretary-general Rene Gacuma confirmed to Rappler.

He was 70.

Before his passing, Dayrit was the president of the Fencing Confederation of Asia. He started his term of office in 2005 and was reelected 4 times.

Dayrit was appointed as one of the Philippine Sports Commission's commissioners in 1993.

He was then elected as the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and served from 1994 to 2004.

He spearheaded the creation of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc), which served as the organizing committee for the country's hosting of the regional biennial meet in 2005.

Even after his tenure as the POC president, Dayrit remained heavily involved in the Olympic solidarity movement of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

He became the first Filipino to be accredited as an international course director of the Olympic solidarity itinerant administration school for sports leaders.

Dayrit held leadership seminars across Asia and many provinces in the Philippines.

He also founded the Philippine Olympic Academy and the Philippine Olympians Association.

Dayrit received multiple awards for his contributions to Philippine sports.

He was given the Olympic Merit Award in 2006 by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and was recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in 2007.

He was also a two-time Philippine Sportswriters Association leadership awardee, and is a member of the De La Salle Sports Hall of Fame.

In fencing, he is an honorary member of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) and was inducted to the Hall of Fame, serving in the executive committee from 2004 to 2020.

“It is a big loss to us in the sports community and to me personally, as one of my mentors,” said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “He was a big help to me in foreign relations especially in the Southeast Asian Games Federation.” – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.

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