MANILA - The Philippine government has begun vaccinating national athletes, officials and staff of the Philippine delegation bound for the Tokyo Olympic and SEA Games on Friday at the Manila Prince Hotel.
“Nagpapasalamat kami ng malaki sa national government, sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) na inaprubahan ang prioritization ng mga atleta natin, especially the Olympic- and SEA Games- bound athletes,” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino said in a TeleRadyo interview.
Among the athletes vaccinated when the inoculation started at 9 a.m. was rower Cris Nievarez.
Also lined up to be inoculated are officials and support staff of the delegation of both events, said Tolentino.
“Yung iba dito mga officials na kasama sa Tokyo bound kasi maraming kasama ang Olympians natin yung iba 3 coaches, nutritionist, psychologist, masseur. Marami pong kasama yan yung iba dito natin binakunahan,” he said.
Nine Filipino athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Games. They are Hidilyn Diaz; boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam; pole vaulter EJ Obiena; gymnast Carlos Yulo; rower Cris Nievarez; and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa.
“Sa ibang olympians na nasa abroad, especially sa US and Europe, definitely they will be given (the vaccine) in the US. Alam naman po natin na mabilis kumuha sa US,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino is expecting the number of Filipino athletes who would qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in July to increase to 15.
“Minimum of one gold will do, that’s our prayer. That’s the wish of the entire country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tolentino said the Philippines will send a delegation of around 700 to the SEA Games.
“Since tayo ang overall champion, ako personally hindi tayo papayag na hindi natin salihan lahat ng event para ma-maintain natin kahit hindi yung overall, mataas pa rin yung ranking,” he said.
Vietnam announced a "no vaccine, no participation" policy for the 31st SEA Games that will take place in Hanoi from November 21 to December 2.
The second dose of the vaccine will be administered maybe after a month, said Tolentino.
“Abot na abot pa rin sa Tokyo, and of course, sa SEA Games,” he said.
- Report from Dyan Castillejo