Japoy Lizardo of taekwondo]

MANILA, DECEMBER 3, 2010 (STAR)By Abac Cordero - The Philippine Olympic Committee has identified the 12 Filipino athletes who will be placed under the International Olympic Committee solidarity scholarship program until the 2012 Olympics in London.

Jose Cojuangco, POC president, named the athletes as Jessie King Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi of swimming; Marlon Avenido and Japoy Lizardo of taekwondo; Marestela Torres and Henry Dagmil of athletics; Hayen Topacio and Paul Bryan Rosario of shooting; Roque Abala of rowing; Emerson Segui of fencing; Margarito Angana of wrestling; and Mark Javier of archery.

Under the program, these athletes will get $500 a month in training allowances from Olympic Solidarity, which draws its fund from its share of the previous Summer Games, in this case the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Cojuangco said on top of the monthly allowances, these chosen athletes will get $5,000 for any Olympic qualifying tournament they will participate in as they search slots to the next Olympics.

[PHOTO - Marestela Torres]

“They will be properly taken care of. These are our Olympic scholars,” said Cojuangco.

The athletes were chosen in full coordination with their respective national sports associations, and the POC president said every penny that will be handed to the Filipino athletes will have to be liquidated.

“This is big help for us. This could cover everything that we can’t for the coming year, where there are Olympic qualifying tournaments lined up for all the Olympic sports,” said Cojuangco.

The POC president, who also heads the Equestrian Association of the Philippines, said they hope to identify as many as 60 elite athletes to be placed under special care, and he hopes to find someone who can assume the role as their training director.

“We will continue to sit down with the different NSAs so we can complete the 60 athletes. Because if in six months we cannot see any improvement in the original 12, they can take their place,” said Cojuangco.

“Our athletes should use this (opportunity) to improve their skills and qualify for the London Olympics,” he added.

Even the coaches can be part of the program as experienced by Joseph Sy of athletics and Henry Manalang of archery in the past.

Pacquiao vs Mosley getting closer By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated December 03, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (40) View comments

MANILA, Philippines - Shane Mosley has one foot inside the ring, as Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent.

Bob Arum of Top Rank said the Filipino icon will be back in action on April 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas or just five months after his 12-round demolition of Antonio Margarito in Dallas.

Arum wants two fights for Pacquiao next year, and probably the only way to this is if the fighting congressman in Sarangani holds his next fight no later than May.

“I have to make sure with Manny and make sure he’s okay with it. It’s an ideal date, right after the Final Four and the start of the baseball season and right around the beginning of the NBA playoffs,” said Arum,

“As long as it doesn’t interfere with his duties as a congressman, I think we’ll be in good shape,” he told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

There are a couple of names being considered, and since it’s highly improbable for Floyd Mayweather to step up the plate, the choice is down to Mosley or Juan Manuel Marquez.

“It looks like it’s Mosley,” said Pacquiao’s business manager, Eric Pineda, yesterday.

“The only thing we don’t have now is the contract,” he added.

Reports said negotiations have been ongoing between Pacquiao’s representatives in the US, including his adviser Mike Koncz, and Mosley, who’s willing to seal the deal by himself.

Mosley is ready to keep Golden Boy, which promoted his most recent fights, out of the deal because he must have realized that it’s the only way for him to land the fight with Pacquiao.

Golden Boy and Top Rank are locked in a legal battle regarding Pacquiao’s fight earnings.

A fight with Mayweather could earn Pacquiao as much as $70 million (roughly P3 billion), according to one of his advisers, Chavit Singson. But there are too many obstacles facing the superfight.

Pineda said Pacquiao is not backing off from any fight, not even with Mayweather or Marquez, who’s been shouting all over that he had beaten Pacquiao twice.

“Manny wil fight anybody. We know that,” said Pineda.

“But I think it’s going to be Mosley. I just don’t know anything about the date. Manny said he wants to return to the ring in May,” Pineda added.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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