Philippine Olympic chief blasts bill banning minors from participating in combat sports
POC President Bambol Tolentino

Philippine Olympic chief blasts bill banning minors from participating in combat sports

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - December 6, 2020 - 5:03pm

MANILA, Philippines -- The bill seeking to ban minors from competing in combat sports, if enacted into law, will be a big blow to the country’s hope of winning its first Olympic gold medal in the martial arts events.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino on Sunday said the proposal is regressive and counter productive since most of the country’s best hopes in the international competition, including the Olympics comes from full-contact events.

“Our sports will go backwards. We will lose our chances for gold medals. What will happen to our grassroots developmental programs?” said Tolentino.

House Bill No. 1526, or “An Act Banning Minors from Full-Contact Competitive Sports,” was filed by Ako Bicol Representatives Elizaldy Co anf Alfredo Garbin Jr.

It aims in prohibiting minors in engaging in combat events like boxing, karate, judo, mixed martial arts, muay, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts form.

Interestingly, martial arts are traditional medal mine for the country in the international meets like the Olympics, Asian and Southeast Asian Games.

In fact, half of the country’s 10 Olympic medals came from boxing courtesy of Anthony Villanueva (silver), Onyok Velasco (silver), Roel Velasco (bronze), Leopoldo Serantes (bronze) and Jose Villanueva (bronze).

Also, two of the four Filipino Tokyo qualifiers are pugs Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno, who along with Olympic hopeful and 2019 world champion Nesthy Petecio, are our best hopes to end the country’s long search for an Olympic gold.

Tolentino, a Tagaytay City Congressman, is expected to be one of the many who are expected to oppose the bill.

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