Tokyo Olympics flag bearers Marcial, Watanabe to wear Rajo Laurel outfits

Boxer Eumir Marcial and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe will be sporting the Filipiniana creations of multi-awarded Filipino designer Rajo Laurel in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, July 23.

Marcial will be wearing a cocoon silk barong with a machine-embroidered pitchera design muslin inner shirt and light wool black pants.

Watanabe, on the other hand, will be clad in a cocoon silk short blazer with a machine-embroidered front and sleeves over a neoprene spaghetti-strapped black inner blouse to match with her neoprene black pants.

Marcial and Watanabe were chosen as flag bearers as their Tokyo Olympic campaigns won't kick off until Monday, July 26 and Tuesday, July 27, respectively.

They will march along with six officials – Team Philippines chef de mission (CDM) to the Games Mariano "Nonong" Araneta, coaches Carlos Padilla (taekwondo), Nolito Velasco (boxing), and Daniel Bautista (skateboarding), as well as Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco, and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines head Cynthia Carrion-Norton.

Due to pandemic protocols in the Tokyo Games, the traditional parade of athletes in the opening ceremony will only be limited to flag bearers and several athletes and sports officials.


Araneta admitted he "does not know what to expect" when the Tokyo Olympics opens on Friday.

“We really don’t know what the opening ceremony would be like. It’s a tightly kept secret,” shared Araneta, who attended a CDM meeting on Wednesday, July 21.

According to the CDM, the Philippine delegation in Tokyo is experiencing a slew of logistical problems especially with regards to transportation.

“The hosts promised to address problems in transportation after several countries complained that they had to wait at least an hour for their designated shuttle buses to arrive and bring them to their training venues,” Araneta said.

The organizers are forced to fix the early issues before the opening ceremony event which would require the flag bearers and officials marching to be picked at 6 pm from the athletes' village and to arrive at the Olympic Stadium at 7 pm.

“Imagine bringing 4,500 individuals back to the Olympic Village the soonest possible time?” he said. “But the hosts vowed to pull it off in one hour.”

According to Araneta, the opening ceremony would last for three hours and would feature 205 member national Olympic committees. Only North Korea withdrew from the Games.

Aside from the transportation issues, there was a lack of testing kits which caused a bottleneck, as the Tokyo organizers enforced strict protocols.

“There was also a problem with the lack of testing kits, especially on Tuesday when a long line was formed because they ran out of kits,” said Araneta.

Tokyo is welcoming 11,000 athletes, 7,000 officials, and 15,000 media personnel, while the city is declared to be in a state of emergency due to the rising COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, July 20, the city reported 1,387 new cases. –

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.