The head of the Philippines' athletics delegation in the Tokyo Olympics is taking extra precautions for pole vaulter EJ Obiena, after two of his rivals tested positive for COVID-19.
This includes American Sam Kendricks, ranked second in the world and a two-time world champion. German Chiaraviglio of Argentina also returned a positive result, and both are now out of the Games.
Terry Capistrano, the secretary-general of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) who heads the two-athlete delegation, said they are not leaving anything to chance when it comes to the safety of the athletes.
"We're taking a lot of extra precautions now," Capistrano said. "We're bringing our own alcohol to Edogawa Stadium, where EJ practices, and we are the ones who wipe down whatever surfaces he will be in contact with."
"We can never be too careful anymore," he said.
Capistrano has also decided to commission a van to bring the team to practice instead of letting Obiena ride the athletes' bus or an Olympic-accredited taxi.
The team, which includes sprinter Kristina Knott, had earlier decided to stay at Conrad Hotel instead of transferring to the Athletes' Village.
Capistrano feels it's a decision that may have saved the Filipino athletes from possible exposure.
"We're lucky that we decided to stay here," he said.
Obiena opens his campaign on Saturday, July 31, while sprinter Kristina Knott gets going on August 2 in the women's 200 meters.
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