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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Olympic-bound PH bets to get monthlong Metz training camp

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The Philippine Olympic Committee is leaving no stone unturned in its preparations for the historic 2024 Paris Olympics, which mark the centennial celebration of the games.

In a groundbreaking move, the POC is sending Filipino athletes to a month-long training camp set to unfold in Metz, France, as revealed by POC President Bambol Tolentino.

This unprecedented initiative was unveiled during the partnership announcement between the POC and Cignal TV for the forthcoming Paris Games.

Under this collaboration, the POC has secured agreements with La Moselle President Patrick Weiten for the use of sports facilities in Metz, including the accommodations and meals for Filipino qualifiers starting in June.

“Everyone will be departing after the June 21 sendoff, then, the following day, on June 22, they will depart for the training camp a month ahead,” said Tolentino.

This meticulous planning underscores the commitment to provide optimal conditions for the athletes’ preparations.

The training camp, generously funded by Cignal TV, is strategically positioned in Metz, where meticulous arrangements have been made.

“In Metz, the contract was signed last year. We planned this two years ago, meticulously selecting facilities that could cater to our needs. Fortunately, Metz offered ideal arrangements,” explained Tolentino.

Located just an hour and 15 minutes from Paris via train, Metz’s proximity to the Olympic venue enhances convenience and accessibility for athletes.

Tolentino added that seamless transportation and centralized facilities favor Filipino athletes in training.

“If the training venues are scattered, they will arrange transportation for our athletes. However, the central hub will be in Metz, with other facilities accessible within a 15 to 20-minute drive,” he explained.

Wharton Chan, the POC secretary general, emphasized the rigorous evaluation process in selecting Metz as the training venue.

“Before finalizing the venue, we conducted extensive visits to the area, ensuring that Metz offers suitable facilities for various sports played by Filipino athletes,” Chan affirmed.

The Paris Olympics, slated to run from July 26 to August 11 this year, will mark a significant milestone in Philippine sports history.

To further motivate Filipino athletes, the POC announced plans to award house and lot to medalists in the Games, a gesture reminiscent of the post-Tokyo Games initiative.

Tolentino expressed confidence in replicating the housing incentives provided after the 2020 Tokyo Games, where Hidilyn Diaz gave the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal.

“If we could do it before, there’s no reason we can’t do it now,” he asserted. Tolentino also hinted at additional cash incentives for medalists, pending the finalization of details.

As of now, the Philippines has secured nine qualifiers for Paris, including pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial, and Aira Villegas, and weightlifters John Febuar Ceniza, Elreen Ando, and Vanessa Sarno.

With several upcoming qualification tournaments, POC anticipates more Filipino athletes earning berths for Paris.

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