RP  OLYMPIC  COMMITTEE  PRESIDENT  QUITS,  SEALS  POST  TO  PEPING COJUANGCO

MANILA,  October 22, 2004  (STAR) Philippine Olympic Committee president Celso Dayrit will relinquish his post at the end of the year after he announced yesterday his decision not to seek re-election in next month’s polls.

His decision to pull out of the presidential race would mean former Congressman Peping Cojuangco, the equestrian chief, will run unopposed for the coveted position during the elections next month.

Citing the need for all to work together, Dayrit, who is also the president of the Southeast Asian Games Federation, disclosed that he now holds the greater responsibility of ensuring the continued success of the SEA Games program.

"The objectives of the SEA Games are of much greater importance than anyone’s interest in the POC," Dayrit explained. "To ensure the success of the Games, all concerned officials should play their respective roles on the team."

Dayrit is concurrently chair of SEAGF executive committee, which is the management body of the Federation. He also recently became the first Filipino vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

He enjoys the respect of the international sports community, being the only Filipino course director in the Olympic Solidarity School for Sports Leaders which trains sports managers among NOCs.

As a sportsman, Dayrit was a national fencing champion and SEA Games medalist. He assumed the Philippine Fencing Association presidency in 1987. During his watch, Filipino fencers emerged as the most productive in Southeast Asia, a feat that has been maintained since 1992.

In the 2003 Vietnam SEAG, it was only in fencing where the Philippines was declared overall champion. Last July, Dayrit was voted president of the Asian Fencing Confederation and automatically became executive board member of the International Fencing Federation based in Paris, France.

Dayrit served as PSC commissioner from 1993 to 1996, during which he conceptualized and organized the first Philippine National Games here. For this, Dayrit received a Sports Leadership Award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association.

He also wrote a book on sports and the Olympic Movement in the Philippines, which was published last year.

Dayrit assumed the POC presidency in 1999 and finished the unexpired term of Cristy Ramos Jalasco. He was then elected to a four-year term in 2000 beating Go Teng Kok, 22-11, for the biggest margin in any POC presidential elections.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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