Ricky Vargas begins healing process, calls for unity for sake of Filipino athletes
POC president Ricky Vargas says Peping Cojuangco will be given his 'due recognition' as former head of the national Olympic body. Jerome Ascano

PHILIPPINE Olympic Commitee (POC) president Ricky Vargas is grateful for the support of the athletes in a re-election that swept him to power against long-serving presient Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco.

Vargas got the support of the Athletes’ Commission led by 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and retired long jumper Henry Dagmil, who were part of the 41 voters in the polls.

“I thank everyone for all their support. This was our fight, our victory, and most of all, our fight for our athletes. My most important support was from Hidilyn Diaz and Henry Dagmil, representatives from the ranks of the athletes,” Vargas said.

Vargas beat Cojuangco, 24-15, ending the 13-year reign of the former Tarlac congressman in the national Olympic body - more than a year after being disqualified from running for the position of president.

Prior to the polls, Diaz called for clean elections and an end to politics within the POC for the sake of the national athletes.

”It pains me to see that the organization that is supposed to act as the guiding light for sports in the country is so divided on something that should be basic - to elect its leaders in free, fair, and credible elections,” said Diaz in a statement days before the polls.

Vargas called for unity following the contentious elections, and assured that Cojuangco will be given his due recognition 'for his contributions to the POC.'

“I urge everyone to join hands with me in my efforts to unite sports. We will accord Mr. Cojuangco his due recognition as a long-serving president of POC. Let us work and win together. Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino,” said Vargas.

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