OCTOBER 18, 2006
(STAR) By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 10/18/2006

Paeng Nepomuceno, the great Filipino bowler, was unanimously chosen by the Philippine Olympic Committee executive committee as official flag-bearer of the RP delegation to the coming 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

The 49-year-old Nepomuceno, the only bowler to win the World Cup four times, was chosen for his exemplary performance in the sport and the respect he commands among his fellow athletes.

Also considered for the prestigious honor were diver Sheila Mae Perez and swimmer Miguel Molina.

It will be the second time that the left-handed bowler will carry the flag in the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, the first being in Hiroshima, Japan in 1994.

Nepomuceno said it’s such an honor being chosen the flag bearer.

"It’s a big honor for me. Being the flag bearer in the Asian Games is a big responsibility. So I hope to give my best in Doha," said Nepomuceno in a brief phone interview.

Nepomuceno won the Asian Games gold medal in men’s doubles in Busan in 2002 along with RJ Bautista, who will not be around when the quadrennial event is held Dec. 5 to 15 in Doha.

The opening ceremony, however, will be staged on Dec. 1 with Nepomuceno leading the RP contingent composed of 267 athletes and close to a hundred officials.

The Philippines won three gold medals in Busan, but the two other winners, equestrianne Mikee Cojuangco and cue artist Django Bustamante, won’t be back like Bautista.

Torchbearers to come on horseback, boat The Philippine Star 10/18/2006

Officials behind the Manila leg of the 15th Asian Games torch relay vowed to put up a show like no other, one that features among others, a horse-driven and boat-riding torchbearers while passing through cities that boast of the world’s largest shoe and the historic People Power Monument.

The unique run, set around the metropolis tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., is aimed at making the third leg of this year’s Asiad torch relay one of the best ever.

"We want to be different. We want it to be one of the most memorable in the history of the Asian Games," said Mario Tanchanco, chairman of the Manila leg of the quadrennial meet.

The Doha Asiad torch arrived in the country last Monday and was brought by officials of the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee (DAGOC) in yesterday’s special session of the PSA Forum at the Renaissance New World Hotel in Makati during the formal launching of the event.

The running of the torch, according to Tanchanco, starts at 7:25 a.m. at the Luneta Park and will pass by 10 cities within the metropolis. Its feature includes equestrianne Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski carrying the torch on board a horse as it passes through Makati City and the dragon boat team taking its turn by wading through the waters of Manila Bay when the relay reaches Vito Cruz all the way to Pedro Gil in Manila.

It will also pass by Marikina City where the largest shoe in the world can be found and the People Power Monument, site of the historic EDSA Revolution, in Quezon City.

Tanchanco was joined in the public sports program sponsored by Pagcor, Manila Mayor Lito Atienza and Manila Sports Council (Masco) chief Ali Atienza by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez, relay route head Ben Silva-Netto, DAGOC representative Nicole Brown and Oryx, the national animal of Qatar and official mascot of the 15th Asiad Games.

"It is an honor to be part of this historic torch relay. We welcome you in this warm city with warm hearts and warm people," said Ramirez, also chef de mission of Team Philippines, in his opening remarks.

Aside from Cojuangco-Jaworski, gold medalist in the last Asiad in Busan, South Korea, other prominent personalities acting as torchbearers include four-time World Cup champion Paeng Nepomuceno, Manila Mayor Atienza, former Southeast Asian Games long jump queen Elma Muros-Posadas, swimming sensation and one-time PSC chairman Eric Buhain, 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Mansueto Velasco and Qatari powerlifting champion Ali Abdulla M.A. Mohammed, who was present in yesterday’s session.

"This (torchbearer) is a dream for me, something which I can’t imagine," said Ali, a heavily-built, bald-looking athlete married to a Filipina and who represented Qatar in the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and His Excellency Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar are the keynote speakers in tomorrow’s whole-day affair that also ends at the Luneta Park.

The Doha torch came directly from Busan, South Korea and will next proceed to Hiroshima, Japan after the Manila leg. This year’s torch relay is the longest in the history of the meet, measuring 50,000 kilometers and encompassing 15 countries and regions over 55 days.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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