AN 83-member delegation of Filipino athletes that is set to participate in the 2013 World University Games in Russia in July has been denied recognition by the Philippine Olympic Committee.
POC president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco said the body has no idea on the competence or legitimacy of the delegation and has told the organizing Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (Fessap) that the POC is not authorizing them to represent the country in the Games.
It isn’t clear, however, if the POC will be stopping the delegation from competing in the Summer Universiade.
“Sinabi natin sa organizing committee na we do not authorize their delegation,” said Cojuangco in the POC weekly program on DZSR Sports Radio 918. “Kasi mahirap, they will be wearing the Philippine flag. We don’t know if they are competent or legitimate.”
“In the meantime, inihahanda na natin ang mga papeles. We have reported it to OCA (Olympic Council of Asia). They have their opinion. We have also reported it to the legal (department) of the International Olympic Committee. And at the same time, kumikilos din tayo,” Cojuangco added.
Cojuangco said he was actually invited by the organizing committee to attend the Universiade.
“(But) I can’t go there if it’s not a Philippine delegation that we don't approve off. It will look very awkward,” said Cojuangco.
The Fessap-backed delegation has athletes from various schools, including the University of Visayas basketball team that won the National Students Basketball Championship organized by the Basketball Association of the Philippines.
The BAP, however, had long been stripped of recognition by the POC and replaced by the Samahang Basketbol Pilipinas as the national federation duly recognized by world basketball body Fiba.
Cojuangco said that in the past, the POC had authorized the UAAP to form a Philippine team for the Universiade but he does not know why and how Fessap gained the right to form and send a delegation to the multi-sport event starting in 2011.
Fessap is reportedly participating in 11 sports in the Universiade.
Cojuangco said that while the Philippine team won a silver medal in the Games, its basketball team then — led by now Petron center June Mar Fajardo — lost all their games in lopsided fashion.