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Philippine Olympic chief vows to uplift cycling

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino vowed to up the ante for cycling after receiving the 2024 Merit Award during the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) Congress in Kazakhstan.

“It’s a recognition from cycling’s continental body that inspires us to do better for Philippine cycling,” said Tolentino after receiving the award at the Intercontinental Hotel in Almaty on Thursday.

Tolentino is also the president of the national sports association for the sport, PhilCycling, which fielded a 22-athlete team, the biggest since 1995, to the ACC Championships for Road that coincides with the Congress.

“My heartfelt gratitude to the ACC for recognizing the PhilCycling’s effort to advance further our sport in the country,” he said.

Tolentino’s administration at PhilCycling started to bear fruit back in 2005 when as mayor of Tagaytay City hosted BMX racing as demonstration sport and eventually as a medal sport at the UCI-standard BMX track when the country hosted the 2019 30th Southeast Asian Games.

His watch saw the conduct of two UCI continental races and emergence of four continental teams, and more importantly the participation in the London 2012 Olympics of Danny Caluag, who went on to win the Philippine one and only gold medal at the Incheon 2014 Asian Games.

Southeast Asia Games medalists Jermyn Prado (road race gold 2019 SEA Games) and Ronald Oranza (double bronze medalist 2023 Cambodia SEA Games), meanwhile, lead the national team — 11 men and nine women — competing in the continental championships road that started on Thursday and ends June 12.

The participation of the delegation — the biggest since 1995 when the country last hosted the Asian championships in Subic and the then Amoranto Velodrome in Quezon City — is principally backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, POC and Standard Insurance with the support of Asiana Airlines.