Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino officially informed the body’s General Assembly of an impending World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspension on the country unless the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) complies with the international agency’s code.
The presidents or secretary-generals of the 38 national sports associations who attended the assembly on Thursday were shocked.
“Everybody was shocked, but I had to report to the general assembly because it’s my responsibility,” said Tolentino during Thursday’s General Assembly at the East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Paranaque City.
“Nobody wanted this for sure, nobody wanted to be in this delicate situation and we are also celebrating our 100 years of participation in the Olympics in Paris,” he said. “So we are all praying and hoping that we comply.”
The Philippines stands the risk of its flag not being flown in Paris because of the PSC’s non-compliance with the WADA Code.
The PSC in a statement last week said it’s been working on complying with the code and has until February 13 to complete the task.
Non-compliance, the WADA stressed in its notification to the PSC last January 22, would result in the Philippine flag banned from the Olympics Paralympic Games, Asian Games and Para Games, Southeast Asian Games and Para Games and world championships.
Non-compliance would also ban the country from hosting international competitions.
“We [POC leadership] were totally uninformed of the WADA issue. They [PSC] didn’t even approach us for help, maybe we can do something,” said Tolentino, who also heads the cycling association. “The clock is ticking and it’s only 11 days to go.”
“It’s sad and disappointing if that happens because all our athletes are religiously training to qualify for the Olympics,” Tolentino said. “We’re hoping it’s not too late yet.”