MANILA, Philippines – With various sports federations around the world clamoring for the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said a delay would also benefit our national athletes.
“It’s better to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rather than have a cancelation so as not to lose [the Philippines] our chance for our first gold medal—or even more golds,” said Tolentino.
“(If the Games are postponed), more Filipinos have more chances to qualify.”
Earlier this month, Tolentino bared that the Filipino athletes should also focus on preparing for the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam, following the country’s overall championship when it hosted the regional biennial meet last year.
But if the Olympics are moved a year later, the schedule will still be “ideal enough” for the POC chief.
“I favor a postponement because the health and safety of everyone in sports—both in the Philippines and all over the world—is paramount in this COVID-19 pandemic,” added Tolentino.
“The POC advises all athletes, coaches, officials and stakeholders to stay safe, stay at home and observe government and Health Department protocols so we could defeat this virus.”
Team Philippines chef de mission to the Tokyo Olympics Nonong Araneta has been hands-on in monitoring the status of the Filipino Olympic hopefuls. However, the hiatus on all sporting events due to the coronavirus has also affected the Olympic qualifiers of various sports federations.
“For those that are still aiming to qualify, this will give them an opportunity to prepare better given the current situation we are in,” Araneta told Rappler.
The postponement, though uncertain of a final date, also gives the Filipino hopefuls time to readjust their training programs as the IOC remains firm that a cancelation is not an option.
“For those that have already qualified, they can concentrate more on their preparations rather than thinking about the pandemic that is affecting everyone.”
There are currently 64 Filipino athletes bidding to qualify to the Olympiad. These athletes are coming from: archery, athletics, swimming, basketball, boxing, cycling, canoe-kayak, fencing, golf, gymnastics, judo, karate, rowing, skateboarding, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, weightlifting, and wrestling.
Out of the 64, 18 athletes have above average chances of booking a ticket to the largest quadrennial games this year.
Araneta also said that the athletes are safe. He added he continued to get regular reports from the national sports associations. – Rappler.com