The world has met the New Year nearly three months ago, and it is starting to feel the same as the old year. In Japan, organizers have made some drastic sacrifices to guarantee that the delayed Summer Olympics from last year will happen in Tokyo this July, even if no foreign spectators are allowed for instance. In the Philippines, rising COVID cases have resulted in reversion to GCQ and even ECQ statuses in critical areas such as the NCR Plus bubble. It is not going to stop Team Philippines from going to Tokyo and striving for the umpteenth time to win the first Filipino gold.
As reported by Inquirer.net, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is still even now looking at opportunities to expand the country’s delegation of athletes to the Tokyo Olympics, as well as get an early start in. Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, president of the POC, notes that they are waiting on invitations from Tokyo to send participants to join several “test events,” competitions to be held at the Olympic venues to determine the readiness of the facilities, volunteers and staff for when the actual Games take place, a sort of “grand rehearsal.”
“These are challenging times,” says Tolentino. “But as I’ve said before, this is our best chance to win a gold medal. Our athletes will do their best despite the threat (of COVID-19).” At present the POC is looking at a maximum 87 national athletes playing 20 different sporting events, some of which have already qualified as Tokyo Olympians and others still fighting for their berth at often COVID-postponed Olympic qualifiers. Making a solid argument for Filipina power is the fact that among the leading participants for Tokyo are weightlifter and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Asian games and SEA Games gold medalist skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and the SEA Games gold medalist/Asian Games silver medalist judoka, Japanese-Filipina Kiyomi Watanabe.
The above three, along with pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast heartthrob Carlos Yulo and boxing hopefuls Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial are the qualified Olympians that Rep. Tolentino hopes to send to Tokyo early to join in on the upcoming test events“It would be an honor for our Olympians to be part of such an activity for the Tokyo Olympics,” Tolentino remarks, adding that playing in the test events makes for added practice experience as well. While the Tokyo organizers are still finalizing the number of Olympic test events, the POC is watching other Philippine athletes yet to compete in their qualifying events, for new additions to the Tokyo delegation.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star