Paris Olympics

POC eyes successful Olympics prep ahead of ‘historic’ France-based PH training camp

JR Isaga

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POC eyes successful Olympics prep ahead of ‘historic’ France-based PH training camp

MEDAL BETS. Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio (foreground) aims for the gold as fellow boxers Hergie Bacyadan (left) and Aira Villegas target a winning debut.


The Philippines' 15-strong Paris Olympics delegation – expected to grow a bit more in the coming days – is set to fly out to a historic centralized training center in Metz, France a month before the Games begin

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is sparing no expense and pulling out all the stops ahead of the country’s 100th year of joining the quadrennial top sports showpiece in Paris, France starting this July 26.

Handling a delegation of 15 world-class athletes as of Wednesday, June 19, with a handful more expected to qualify in the coming days, the POC is putting the final touches on what it claims to be the first-ever centralized Philippine team training facility based in Metz, France.

Scheduled to leave with the rest of the country’s representatives on Saturday, June 22, POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino was not shy in promoting the historic camp upon talking to reporters on Wednesday morning at a POC memorandum of agreement signing event with Aice Ice Cream.

“After the send-off on Friday (June 21) we’re going to the training camp in the city of Metz – a one-and-a-half hour train ride [from Paris],” the executive said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“We’re taking the athletes who are coming from the Philippines, since others are coming from Spain, Japan, US…but everyone will gather there.”

So far, top medal bet and world No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena has been honing his craft in Europe for the better part of the last year, earning mixed results in various tournaments amid a continuing pursuit for a breakthrough Olympic medal finish.

Meanwhile, boxers like reigning Olympic silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam are still in the Philippines, and are expected to fly out with the rest of the elite Filipino boxing crew composed of Aira Villegas, Hergie Bacyadan, and reigning bronze medalist Eumir Marcial.

Other athletes expected to converge at the Metz camp are gymnasts Carlos Yulo, Aleah Finnegan, and Levi Jung-Ruivivar, weightlifters Elreen Ando, Vanessa Sarno, and John Ceniza, rower Joanie Delgaco, and fencer Samantha Catantan.

Asked the ever-pertinent question regarding the Filipino athletes’ gold medal chances – this time without Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz – Tolentino remained coy on the idea, but nonetheless optimistic.

“A lot of us will be praying for that to happen, so maybe it just can.” –

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