Paris Olympics

PH athletes to attend month-long training camp in France before Paris Olympics

Philip Matel

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PH athletes to attend month-long training camp in France before Paris Olympics

CELEBRATE. The Philippines' EJ Obiena in action during the men's pole vault competition in the 19th Asian Games.

PSC-POC Media Pool

All local Olympic bets for the Paris Games, including their physical trainers and nutritionists, are bound for the city of Metz for their final stretch of training

MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the centenary year of the Philippines’ participation in the Olympics, the country’s Paris Games hopefuls will head to France for a month-long training camp.

According to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), all local Olympic bets, their physical trainers, and nutritionists, are bound for the picturesque city of Metz, about 300 kilometers east of Paris, to train there starting late June to acclimatize themselves to the weather.

The Paris Games are set to open on July 26.

“[Metz will] provide everything, all equipment to be used in Paris, they will procure that for our use, all facilities, they’ll provide,” said POC president Abraham Tolentino during a partnership event with Cignal TV on Thursday, April 18.

“If the practice venues are located in a different venue, they will provide shuttles, but the main hub will be in Metz. All other facilities are within reach, 15 to 20 minutes by car or van,” he added.

Currently, the Philippines will be spearheaded by pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, weightlifter Vanessa Sarno, as well as boxers Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio, as they look replicate the golden feat of weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz in the Tokyo Games.

Many more are still projected to qualify through Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, as well as universality slots allotted for the Asian region.

Athletes from Brazil, Canada, and several African countries are also expected to be in Metz, according to POC secretary general Atty. Wharton Chan.

“Before we agreed to the venue, we had an ocular of the whole place, and we made sure that the environment in Metz would fill in all the sports that we think are possible to be played by the Filipino athletes,” said Chan.

“That’s why all the venues, especially gymnastics, athletics, swimming, boxing, weightlifting, they have definite tools, equipment, venue – [which are] Olympic regulated – for us to use on that specific training venue and aside from that, they offered us sparring partners for those competitions which need necessary sparring partners,” Chan added.

Futhermore, Cignal TV presented an elaborate plan to produce a 13-part miniseries on Team Philippines’ quest for the gold, which will stretch from the start of the training camp on June 23 through the last contest of a Filipino in Paris.

The campaign, dubbed “Isang Daang Taon Laban Para sa Bayan: Celebrating 100 Years of Filipino Excellence in the Olympics,” will provide extensive coverage across free and pay TV channels, as well as livestreaming platforms online.

Cignal TV and MediaQuest chief Jane Basas said the programs will likely be shown on RPTV, One Sports, other peripheral channels, and the Pilipinas Live app as the country’s official broadcaster continues to finalize the coverage details.

A century ago, sprinter David Nepomuceno, became the first Filipino to participate in the 1924 Summer Olympics, the last time Paris hosted the Games.

He ran both the 100m and 200m dash, but was not able to advance to the final round of both events.

Nepomuceno, also a United States Navy sailor, died at just 39 years old in 1939.

After falling short multiple times, the Philippines first achieved a gold-medal finish when Diaz ruled the 55-kilogram weightlifting category in the postponed Tokyo Games, held in 2021 in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, Diaz won’t get a shot at an Olympic golden double as she failed to qualify for Paris. –

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