Dawn of an era in PH sports as Vargas ends Peping's reign as POC president
Ricky Vargas and Rep. Bambol Tolentino officially declared winners on Friday. Jerome Ascano

RICKY Vargas has won the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) re-election against incumbent Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco on Friday at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.

An official tally had Vargas beating Cojuangco, 24-15, in a vote among representatives from various National Sports Association to end the latter's 13-year reign at the head of the country's national Olympic body.

Cycling president Rep. Bambol Tolentino, a Vargas ally, also beat table tennis' Ting Ledesma, 23-15, for the chairmanship to mark the start of a new era in Philippine sports.

Cheers rang out from among Vargas’ supporters gathered outside the Westside Grill of Wack Wack after the most trusted aide of sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan got the clinching 22nd vote.

Cojuangco, meanwhile, left the hall minutes after the POC election committee made Vargas' win official.

Vargas earlier got the green light from a POC election committee on the strength of an order from the Pasig City Regional Trial Court that also declared Cojuangco's 2016 victory null and void.

Vargas later vowed to immediately make changes in the POC for sake of Filipino athletes.

Vargas also called for unity amidst the controversial election.

“This is for the athletes. This is for Philippine sports to succeed. This is for Philippine sports to be one again. Long live Philippine sports,” said Vargas.

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