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News  


Updates on SEA Games Cycling Controversy at SCOOP


PhilBoxing.com



Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines executive director Jojo Villa yesterday lambasted officials of the Philippine delegation for pulling out Marites Bitbit from the cycling competitions in the on-going 25th Southeast Asian games despite the fact that the rider is qualified to carry the country’s colors in the event she is entered.

“That, I believe is very unpatriotic for anyone to talk Tes (Bitbit) into not participating because she has all the right to represent the country in the races,” Villa said during yesterday’s SCOOP Sa Kamayan weekly session at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura echoing a statement earlier attributed to Philcycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Kumbaga and ating mga atleta at parang mga sundalo na, ipinadla sa Laos para makipaglaban dala ang ating bandera.Bakit mo sila hahayaang talikuran ang tungkuling iyon?” Villa, who represented Tolentino who is also Mayor of Tagaytay City, asked during the public servic Forum, sponsored by ACCEL.
“What hurts is Tes is willing to fight for the country even by her lonesome. Kaya lang pinigilan daw siya mismo ng mga opisyal ng delegasyon bilang pakikisama doon sa mga na-disqualify na teammates niya,” he lamented.
Being the only rider possessing an International Cycling Union license, Bitbit, winner of one gold medal and a pair of bronzes in the 24th edition of the biennial conclave two years ago in Thailand, is allowed by the SEA Games Federation to compete.
Her 12 other team mates under the group recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and, therefore, do not possess in the needed license, had been barred from participation despite repeated appeals from the Sea Games Federation itself.

“I was talking to her (Bibit) this morning and she was crying because she told me that she really wanted to compete because she felt she has a big chance to win at least two gold medals.
Bitbit is favoured to rule the individual road race, an event she also captured in 2007.

“Malaki din daw ang pag-asa niya sa cross country event ng mountain bike, kasi yung tumalo sa kanya sa Thailand, wala na sa lineup,” Villa said. Bitbit managed sonly a bronze medal in cross country two years ago.

“Hinayang na hinayang talaga siya. Kahapon nga, pilit niyang kinausap si Mr. Wajab (Asean Cycling Federation president Abdul Wajab)para payagan siyang kumarera. Dala niya ang license niya at lahat ng papeles na kailangan, kaso naunahan daw siya ng mga opisyal na me dalang notice to pull the entire team our of competitions, Villa related.
After the SCOOP session, Villa called Bibtbit again via overseas phone and reiterated her desire to race at least in the four other events she is entered.

“Gusto ko po talagang kumarera alangalang sa bayan, kasi yun naman talaga ang dahilan kaya ako pinadala dito. Kausapin ku po uli si Mr. Wajab para humingi ng konsiderasyon. Yun po ang bilin ni mayor (Tolentino),” Bitbit said, adding that at age over 30 this year’s ames could be her last and she wants to cherish every honor she could win the rest of her life.
POC Cojuangco admitted to media men covering the Games that he, indeed talked to Bitbit, advising her to stand by her teammates and sign a manifesto withdrawing her participation.

The 30-year-old pride of Cebu is deemed a cinch to win the gold in three of her five events, including the road race she ruled in Thailand 2007.

“I told her that it was Mr. Romero who sent you here and you’re going to participate against the wishes of your teammates,” Cojuangco related. “I told her, you have to make your own decision here, it’s up to you. You just have to make it known that you are with the team.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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