MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines' flag-bearers -- Eumir Marcial and Kiyomi Watanabe -- will be wearing traditional outfits when they march during the Opening Ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.
Marcial will wear 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 and neoprene spaghetti-strapped black inner blouse and neoprene black pants.
The outfits were created by world-renowned designer Rajo Laurel, and procured by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Marcial and Watanabe were selected as flag-bearers as their events come later in the Games. Marcial's round-of-32 match in men's middleweight is scheduled for July 26, while Watanabe takes the mat in women's half-middleweight of judo on July 27.
They will be joined in the parade of countries by Araneta and 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.
The opening ceremony would last for three hours and feature 4,500 participants from 205 member national Olympic committees. Only North Korea withdrew from the Games.
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have been mum on how the Opening Ceremonies will proceed, however.
"It's a tightly kept secret," said Mariano "Nonong" Araneta, chef-de-mission of the Philippines to the Tokyo Games.
It would only be at 4 p.m. on Friday, or four hours before the 8 p.m. program, could the world know how the hosts would open the most unique edition of the quadrennial competitions at the stadium that has a 68,000 seating capacity.
Ahead of the Opening Ceremonies, the hosts have to address several issues -- including concerns regarding transportation as well as inadequate COVID-19 test kits, which were raised by member NOCs during the chef-de-mission meeting on Wednesday morning.
"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," said Araneta.
"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," he added.
Another major concern, said Araneta, was the efficiency of the shuttle system after the Opening Ceremonies.
"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."
There are 11,000 athletes and 7,000 officials in these Games that were postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Covering media is pegged at 15,000.
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