Pinoy Olympians meet and reminisce

posted June 29, 2014 at 12:01 am
by  Lito Cinco
OLD and new faces, familiar and unfamiliar names, coming from  different sports disciplines and various parts of  the  country were all  there when the Philippine Olympians Association (POA) held its General Assembly recently at  the Alphaland in Makati City.

Athletes of  different sports disciplines from various parts of 
the  country were there when the Philippine Olympians
Association (POA) held its General Assembly recently at  the
Alphaland in Makati City. Their common bond is having
attained the ultimate dream of any  athlete, compete against
the  best of the world in the Olympic Games and  forever
be called  an Olympian, according to POA Chairman,
basketball  cager and Melbourne Olympics basketball team 
captain Rafael Hechanova.
Their common bond is the  fact  that they have attained the ultimate dream of any  athlete, compete against the  best of the world in the Olympic Games and  forever be called  an Olympian, according to POA Chairman, basketball  cager and Melbourne Olympics basketball team  captain Rafael Hechanova.

Hechanova, 86 years old  but  still very  much in control of his life kidded  that this team, even  if  it  only placed 7th  eventually in Australia, was better than the 1954 team  that placed third in the World basketball Championship in Brazil.

Mexico Olympiad veterans Orly Bauzon and Elias Tolentino were  there too  reminiscing  about their  team, coached  by Caloy Loyzaga  who surprised everyone when he dropped  his YCO  players Freddie Webb and Ed Roque from the final line-up.

Among the older athletes who  made it there were brother swimmers Jacinto and Pedro, 89 and 82 respectively. Jacinto won two  gold medals in the Asian Games and he remembers swimming in very cold waters in London in 1948.

Low hurdles record holder Manolita Cinco-Dopeno from the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, a breast cancer survivor, also  came with  husband Alejo. She described  the athletes of yesteryears  as “disiplinado  kami noon at  masunurin  sa  coach. Walang  incentives  na  pera pero serious kami  lahat (We were disciplined then and obedient to our coach. We didn’t receive money but we were all serious).”

Weightlifters Samuel Alegada and Gregorio Colonia, both 52,  and who were in the 1988 Seoul Olmpiad and  taekwondo jins Monsour del Rosario and Stephen Fernandez,  the  country’s very first competitors in  that  sport  in  the  Olympics, also made  an  appearance.

“Nanghihinayang lang  ako,  kami  ni Stephen. First  round  pa lang, Korean  world  champions  agad  kalaban namin. Si Stephen  nakabalik  at  nanalo  ng bronze (I’m disappointed, along with Stephen. We met Korean world champions right in the first round. Stephen came back to win a bronze)  four years after in Spain,” said Del Rosario who is still an action movie star.

Other familiar names present were marathoner Roy Vence, cyclist Rolando Guaves, weightlifter Arturo del Rosario, basketball cagers of different eras, Tony Genato, POA president and shooting  champion Art Macapagal, three-time Olympian Akiko Thomson-Guevara,  now  with the Philippine Sports Commission ( PSC ), archer Ramon Aldea, and boxer Roel Velasco, among others.

The POA  also  presented the Arete awards to Sun Chong Hon and  Smart Communications  for  their  invaluable  role in developing Philippine  sports while  new  members  were  also  inducted.

COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by The Standard. Comments are views by thestandard.ph readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of thestandard.ph. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with The Standard editorial standards, The Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.