May 24 ------ NATIONAL athletes, especially those in Olympic sports, will be given bicycles by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for use in their daily training. POC chief Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino made the pledge in the light of bikes becoming the safest mode of transportation as the world shifts to a 'new normal' in the time of the pandemic. At the same time, biking promotes good health which is what sports is all about, according to Tolentino.
“With the ‘new normal’ which mandates we find new ways to go about our daily business, national athletes who do not have a personal mode of transportation will surely benefit from this,” said the POC chief, who also represents Tagaytay in the Lower House. “Bicycling is not only a healthy way to get from one point to another, it also promotes social distancing, not to mention a means to avoid traffic.” Tolentino advocating the use of bikes is not surprising as he is likewise president of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines or PhilCycling.
In 2018, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) identified 10 priority Olympic sports that gets the bigger share of the yearly budget allocated by the government sports agency to National Sports Associations (NSAs). The sports include weightlifting, gymnastics, judo, taekwondo, boxing, wind surfing, surfing, archery, athletics and swimming. The POC has not identified any particular sports that will benefit from its project other than generally saying those that fall under the Olympic program. Tolentino said he will seek the approval of the POC Board for the 100 bike units to be given to athletes, who ‘need them most.’
Allotment of the bikes will be on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Athletes need to sign the applicaiton for the benefit. “We need to be innovative so the POC is looking for ways to allow our athletes to stay fit and ready for competition once the situation allows it,” added Tolentino. “Obviously, bicycling, whether to commute to and from their training venues or even for leisure, is a good way for our national athletes to keep in good physical condition.” The POC offer comes just a day after major cycling stakeholders push for the use of bicycles as a major mode of transportation during and after the pandemic.