Former POC president Dayrit passes away

Olympic Movement advocate Celso Dayrit yields to Covid-19.

THE sports community mourned the demise of Celso “Cito” Limjuco Dayrit, one of the pillars of the Philippine sports community, who passed away on Wednesday night because of complications from Covid-19 infection. He was 69.

Dayrit was the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) from 1999 to 2004 and a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in 1993, leaving a legacy as the father of the Philippine National Games.

“It is a big loss to us in the sports community and to me personally, as one of my mentors,” said POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “Before his confinement, he gave me one message that I will publish soon.”

“He was a big help to me in foreign relations especially in the Southeast Asian Games Federation,” Tolentino said. “He always gave me advices. I will surely miss him.”

“Philippine sports lost a wise man today. He is one of my very first friends in sports and I have always admired his deep understanding of Olympism and sports dynamics in the country. He will be truly missed,” PSC Chairman William Ramirez said.

“I am filled with immense sadness at Cito Dayrit’s passing. He was a friend and valued adviser and I relied on his professionalism, vast knowledge and experience and honest point of view,” Ricky Vargas said.

“Philippine and international sports just suffered a devastating loss. I will miss you immensely, my friend. May you rest in peace,” he added.

Dayrit was serving his fourth consecutive term as president of the Fencing Confederation of Asia until his death, and he was the longest-serving president of the Philippine Amateur Fencing Association (PAFA).

“I am deeply saddened to hear this. He [Dayrit] is a great loss to sports and painful to those who knew and love him,” said Richard Gomez, who succeeded Dayrit as PAFA president. “Our prayers go to the Dayrit family. He was my mentor during my time as an athlete and as the president of the association.”

“I am deeply saddened for the loss of our friend Celso Dayrit. He was my teacher in the IOC Solidarity Leadership Course where I eventually became one of the instructors in early 90s,” Philippine National Volleyball Federation Ramon Suzara said. “He is a big lost to Philippine sports and a huge loss to the Olympic Movement and to the fencing family.”

Red Dumuk, also one of the pioneer students at the Olympic Solidarity Movement, said Dayrit is an irreplaceable loss to Philippine Sports.

“While he served as POC president and PSC Commissioner, he was appreciated at the international level,” said Dumuk, adding Dayrit was an Executive Board Member of International Fencing Federation and Asian Fencing Federation.

Dayrit was a Fencing Hall of Famer like his dad, Don Francisco “Paco” Dayrit Sr., considered the “Father of Philippine Fencing,” and incumbent IOC President Thomas Bach.

Ariel Paredes, who closely worked with Dayrit in crafting the policies of the PNG, said Dayrit contributions to Philippine sports are his legacy.

“Cito was a true sportsman,” said Paredes, a sports management expert and incumbent PNVF chairman.

Dayrit was heavily involved in the Olympic Solidarity movement of the International Olympic Committee and was the first Filipino accredited by the IOC as an international course director of the Olympic Solidarity Itinerant Administration School for Sports Leaders.

Because of his involvement with the IOC, he founded the Philippine Olympic Academy and the Philippine Olympians Association.

Dayrit received multiple awards for his contributions to Philippine sports.

The Association of National Olympic Committees awarded Dayrit the Olympic Merit Award in 2006

He wrote the book “The Olympic Movement in the Philippines in 2003.

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