Philippine Olympic Committee President Bambol Tolentino felt honored to receive the 2021 Philippine Sportswriters Association President’s Award, Saturday evening.
For him, it’s a huge honor to receive the same award given to the likes of Caloy Yulo, the women’s basketball team of National University, Manny V. Pangilinan, and Gilas Pilipinas 3.0.
“Isang karangalan para sa akin na mapili ako na makatanggap ng isang parangal mula sa inyo — mga tinuturi ko na kabalikat sa aking tungkulin bilang isang konresista, at higit sa lahat, bilang pangulo ng Philippine Olympic Committee,” said Tolentino.
But for him, it’s the athletes and coaches who have been sacrificing time away from their families amid the pandemic that deserve recognition.
For the past year, Team Pilipinas’ contingent for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics — that includes Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Caloy Yulo, and EJ Obiena and their coaches — have been training non-stop in preparation for the global meet. The same can be said about the hopefuls who vying for spots through the qualification tournaments.
Then there are the pro athletes who have spent time in bubbles just to entertain the millions of Filipinos who have been looking for a short escape in this time.
There are also athletes who have been called up to serve as frontliners in this war.
Tolentino hopes that they continue to be beacons of light in this dark chapter in the country’s history.
“Sa gitna ng pandemya, inspirasyon ito sa ating mga atleta at stakeholders para patuloy na magkaroon ng inspirasyon magensayo, at sila’y mabigyang pansin bilang ambassador ng bansa sa larangan ng sports,” he said.
That is why Tolentino is dedicating this award given by outgoing PSA president Tito S. Talao of the Manila Bulletin to each and every Filipino athlete out there.
“Alay ko ito sa ating mga atleta at coaches.
“Ito na ang panahon ng pagpapalakas ng sports industry sa ating bansa. Nawa’y tayo’y palaging biyayaan ng malakas na katawan at maayos na kaisipan para sabay-sabay nating malampasan ang pandemya na kasalukuyan nating kalaban,” he closed.