Vargas, Gregorio call on IOC chief in Lausanne

Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas shakes hands with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach during the Filipinos' recent visit to the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Also in photo are POC sec-general Pato Gregorio (left) and IOC representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.

Top officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee — president Ricky Vargas and secretary-general Pato Gregorio — went on a two-day visit to the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

They were accompanied by IOC representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.

Highlight of the trip was a 45-minute audience with IOC president Thomas Bach at his offices in downtown Lausanne Wednesday.

The three sports officials also met with Jerome Polvey ((Head of Institutional Relations and Governance & NOC Relations), Olivier Niamkey (Head of Athletes Unit & Relations with OCA and Asian NOCs) and Director General Pere Miro.

The IOC Sports Department briefed the delegation on the Athletes Commission, Athletes Entourage Commission, Games Management Dept., and Sports and Active Society Commission. They were also taken on a tour of the Olympic Museum.

Bach, a German lawyer and Olympian fencer, warmly welcomed the group. Vargas was elated at the reception, saying “he gave me a lot of pointers, foremost of which was to enjoy my job. He also talked of the values of collaboration, getting engaged, friendship and building relations.”

The POC president, in office for only four months, was inspired by the tour of the magnificent Olympic Museum.

“What really impressed me most in the museum were the clarity of vision and the reason of the Olympic movement. And it is remarkable that it continues to be relevant and a vital contributor in the development of political relationships among the countries of the world,” Vargas said.

Vargas and Gregorio also mentioned the Philippines’ aspirations for its first Olympic gold medal to which the IOC head stressed that the Philippines is a vital partner in the Olympic movement.”

For his part, Gregorio said they had very informative discussions with the other IOC officials, notably with lawyer Polvey who showed deep knowledge of the developments in POC and oriented them on “responsible autonomy, NOC governance and the national players rule.”

Vargas and Gregorio, president and vice-president respectively of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), were also briefed by Bach on developments in AIBA, the international boxing federation.

“Mr. Bach says he is much concerned about issues on anti-doping, officials integrity and financial management in AIBA. He hopes these will be addressed soon so as not to jeopardize the inclusion of boxing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”