MANILA, Philippines -- Boxer Eumir Felix Marcial will replace EJ Obiena as the Philippines' male flag bearer in the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) announced Thursday.
Marcial will march alongside judoka Kiyomi Watanabe in the Parade of Nations, which takes place on July 23 at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
POC President Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino said it will be more convenient for Marcial to carry the flag as he is set to arrive in Tokyo this weekend.
"[Marcial] has the most flexible schedule before and after the opening ceremony," Tolentino explained.
"We have already informed Eumir about his task and we are very thankful to EJ for understanding. He cannot rebook his flight anymore," he added.
Marcial will be coming from his training camp in Colorado Springs in the United States and is expected to arrive in Tokyo by Saturday, six days before the opening ceremony.
Obiena, for his part, will arrive from Italy just hours before the event.
"Because of protocols, EJ should be expecting delays at the airport and that would make it impossible for him to catch the opening ceremony," said Tolentino.
Marcial, who turned professional last year, will make his Olympic debut on July 25 in the men's middleweight round-of-32.
Watanabe, who is based in Japan, will compete in the women's -63kg division on July 27.
Six Filipino officials are joining the parade of countries: chef de mission Mariano "Nonong" Araneta, Philippine Judo Federation President Dave Carter, boxing coach Nolito Velasco, skateboarding coach Daniel Velasco, Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco, and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines head Cynthia Carrion-Norton.