THE Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling) is pushing for the inclusion of the entire cycling discipline in the priority sports program of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and not just BMX alone.
PhilCycling President Abraham Tolentino made the clarification after receiving news that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is planning to include BMX in its list of priority sports in the light of the gold medal finish by rider Daniel Caluag in the recent 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
“From what I’ve read and hear, the [PSC] will only consider BMX as part of its priority sports program. Dapat it should be the entire cycling team,” said Tolentino in the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
“In billiards, it should not be 9-ball only? In track and field, long jump only? It should not be BMX only, it should be the whole cycling,” said Tolentino, who is also the Representative of the Sixth District of Cavite.
Among the priority sports recognized by the PSC are boxing, wushu, taekwondo, athletics, wrestling, billiards, and archery. Already dropped from the list are swimming and weightlifting.
Caluag’s gold medal finish in the Asiad, the lone gold medal won by the country in Incheon, is a proof that Filipinos can excel in the sport and therefore should deserve proper funding from the PSC, according to Tolentino.
“The victory of Daniel Caluag is an eye opener that cycling has potential as an Olympic sport. We will not force them to include the whole cycling [discipline]but we’re asking if they can include the whole cycling,” he said.
Tolentino said that they are now preparing under new American coach Chris Allison for the country’s coming campaign in next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
But Tolentino added that the focus is really more on the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics and the 2018 Asiad in Indonesia, where he said Caluag will be eyeing a back-to-back gold medal finish.
Tolentino also said that PhilCycling has disbanded the entire national pool by replacing all members with riders ageing 23-years-old-and-below. The new lineup is set to compete in the coming Asian Championship in Indonesia.