Former POC head dies; 70

April 29, 2021 Theodore P. Jurado 692 views

The country has lost an official who spent a lifetime serving local sports in different capacities.

Former Philippine Olympic Committee president (POC) and one-time commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission Celso “Cito” Dayrit, died on Wednesday night due to health reasons at the age of 70.

“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 in a message sent to People’s Journal yesterday.

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

A veteran sportswriter who worked for a long time with Dayrit–Philippine Journalists Inc. Editor in-Chief Gus Villanueva –said Dayrit is a “big loss to sports world wide, being a former president of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine and Asian fencing federations”.

“Philippine sports has lost a true sportsman and a true leader in Celso Dayrit. He led POC with the noblest principles and was hard-working. He gave prestige to the Olympic body,” Villanueva said

Dayrit served as head of the country’s Olympic governing body from 1999 to 2004 and was commissioner of the sports government agency under the time of President Fidel Ramos.

The sport of fencing is dearest to the heart of the Dayrit family, with his father Don Francisco Dayrit, Sr being considered the “Father of Philippine Fencing. He founded in the 1930s the Philippine Amateur Fencers Association, which is now known as the Philippine Fencing Association

Dayrit was at the helm of the PFA from 1997 to 2008.

His love and passion for fencing didn’t go unrewarded. In 2005, Dayrit became the president of he Fencing Confederation of Asia until the time of his death.

Dayrit was also highly credited for the creation of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc), which served as the organizing committee for the country’s hosting of the biennial regional meet in 2005.

His involvement in several sports activities earned for him a long list of awards. He was given the Olympic Merit Award in 2006 by the Association of National Olympic Committees and was recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in 2007.

Also in his vault of awards was being named as two-time Philippine Sportswriters Association leadership awardee and is a member of the Dela Salle Sports of Fame.