MANILA -- Members of the Philippine Team who will compete in the 2020 Summer Games may have to fly earlier to Tokyo, Japan to avoid disqualification by meeting quarantine and health check requirements in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We had a discussion concerning the Olympic athletes who qualified. The (PSC) Board’s consensus is we might send them two weeks ahead of their planned qualification tournament just to ensure that we are doing our quarantine procedure,” Marc Velasco, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chief of staff, said in a press conference also attended by Nonong Araneta, chef de mission to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes.
There are currently 64 athletes in archery, athletics, swimming, basketball, boxing, cycling, canoe-kayak, fencing, golf, gymnastics, judo, karate, rowing, skateboarding, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, weightlifting, and wrestling, who are working to qualify.
Of this number, 18 athletes have a higher than average chance of booking a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, according to Araneta.
“Sa swimming may dalawa, athletics may apat, boxing sana apat pa, sa judo we have two or three, sa golf three, so that’s 16, sa skateboarding dalawa, so ‘yan 'yung mga tsansa,” Araneta noted.
So far, EJ Obiena (pole vault), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), and Eumir Marcial (boxing) have qualified to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Araneta admitted that athletes are facing difficulties in the qualification process considering that tournaments needed for a Tokyo berth are getting canceled left and right due to the virus.
“Kahapon kasi, 'di ba sa dyaryo, 'yung Philippines may travel ban, 'yung ibang countries may travel ban coming from the Philippines. Sa ngayon two countries pa lang 'yan, Kuwait at Qatar, baka pati 'yung ibang countries pa in which we have a qualifying event masali rin,” Araneta pointed out.
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