PH Olympic body wants fair treatment for Filipino athletes in Asian Games

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is hoping that the local organizers of the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) in Hangzhou, China will fairly treat the 396 Filipino athletes competing in the sporting event amid the ongoing maritime row between Manila and Beijing.

“Hopefully maganda ang treatment sa atin ng host country kahit po merong issue. Even if it’s a political issue or what, West Philippine Sea or what,” POC President Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino said in a forum on Friday.

[Translation: Hopefully they will treat us well as the host country despite the issue. Even if it's a political issue or what, it may be about the West Philippine Sea or what.]

“So yun po tinitingnan natin yung magiging treatment sa atin," he added. "Especially on sports with judgment from judges."

[Translation: So we will see how they will treat us. Especially in sports with judgement from judges.]

Tolentino's remark also comes a week after the Philippines successfully conducted another resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal in the contested West Philippine Sea.

The POC chief believes the major sporting event in the region is a chance to promote friendship between Manila and Beijing.

“We’re excited to be in Hangzhou even though there will be some issues na huwag naman sana maapektuhan ang relationship natin," he said. "Because sports unifies people."

[Translation: We're excited to be in Hangzhou even though there will be some issues that we hope would not affect our relationship with them. Because sports unifies people.]

The local Olympic committee hopes the country can surpass its four-gold medal haul in the 2018 Asiad.

Among the athletes seen to bring home gold are Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, world number two pole vaulter EJ Obiena as well as boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlos Paalam, Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno.

The 19th Asian Games will run from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.