FIVE of six sports that produced gold medals for the country in the 30th Southeast Asian Games were formally welcomed as part of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) family on Tuesday.
POC president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino personally received the sports of modern pentathlon, surfing, bridge, kurash, jiu-jitsu, and sambo to become a regular member of the Olympic body during its General Assembly at the Conrad Hotel.
Representatives of each sport received their respective certificates of regular membership from Congressman Tolentino, including actor-mayor-sportsman Richard Gomez, who is the president of modern pentathlon association.
Assisting Tolentino during the presentation were POC chairman Steve Hontiveros and secretary-general Ed Gastanes.
With the exception of bridge, the rest of the sports were part of the calendar of events of the recent biennial meet.
The five sports contributed 12 of the record total 149 golds Team Philippines won on the way to reclaiming the meet’s overall championship.
Jui-jitsu, alone, won five golds led by world champion Meggie Ochoa, while surfing found a real-life hero in Roger Casugay, who gave up a gold medal position in the longboard to save Indonesian competitor Arip Nurhidayat from drowning.
He did win the gold later on and was named Team Philippines’s flag bearer during the closing ceremony due to his kind deeds.
Meanwhile, bridge was played in last year’s Asian Games where the country paraded the oldest athlete at 85 years old in Kong Te Yang.
Tolentino also took the opportunity to thank all the athletes, coaches, officials, and NSAs for making the country’s SEA Games campaign a huge success.
“To the POC Board who showed the openness to do right by our athletes, the NSAs who provided guidance and support, to the coaches and trainers who painstakingly molded our national team members into achievers, and most especially our dear athletes, ang mga manlalaro na naghirap, nagpunyagi, at humarap sa larangan ng pagtutungagali, maraming, maraming salamat sa inyo,” said the POC president.