Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and the rest of the Philippine athletics team in the Tokyo Olympics are taking extra precautions after two of his pole vault rivals tested positive for the coronavirus.
World No. 2 Sam Kendricks of the United States and German Chiaraviglio of Argentina tested positive for the virus and will not be able to contend in the pole vault competition slated to start on Saturday, July 31.
There are no ifs and buts for Tokyo Olympians who contract the virus as they are forced to forfeit their events. (READ: FAST FACTS: Pandemic protocols at the Tokyo Olympics)
“We’re taking a lot of extra precautions now,” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary-general Terry Capistrano.
“We’re bringing our own alcohol to Edogawa Stadium, where EJ practices, and we are the ones who wipe down whatever surfaces he will be in contact with. We can never be too careful anymore.”
Instead of transferring to the Athletes’ Village, Obiena and the national athletics team – which also includes sprinter Kristina Knott – have remained at the Conrad Hotel.
“We’re lucky we decided to stay here,” Capistrano said.
Capistrano has also commissioned a van to bring the team to practice, not allowing Obiena to ride the athletes’ bus or Olympic-accredited taxis anymore.
Ranked world No. 5, Obiena will be competing against world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden, 2016 Rio de Janeiro champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, and 2012 London titlist Renaud Lavillenie of France. – Rappler.com