National athletes’ Tokyo Summer Olympic preparation continues

PSC COMMISSIONER RAMON FERNANDEZ shared that Team Philippines’ preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games continues despite the cloud of uncertainty over its staging later this year. — PSC FACEBOOK PAGE

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

A CLOUD of uncertainty still hovers on the staging of the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year, but Team Philippines’ preparation for the sporting spectacle continues.

To date, six Filipino athletes have booked spots in the Olympics with a number more still trying to qualify.

Those who have qualified are pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam.

Athletes still vying to make it to the Games include those from weightlifting, golf, karate, skateboarding, fencing, and 3×3 basketball.

Speaking on The Chasedown program last Saturday, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez shared that while the ongoing pandemic has made the national athletes’ preparation all the more challenging, the grind continues for them with the end view of having a competitive showing come the Games.

“For the Olympics, all of our athletes, both those who have qualified and those still trying to qualify, their training is ongoing. They have their own bubble not only here, but in different parts of the world,” said Mr. Fernandez.

He made mention of the national karate team which is currently in Turkey training, which could extend all the way to the middle of this year before the Olympics in July to August.

National boxers are in Thailand while the fencing team is in Ormoc, Leyte.

Hidilyn Diaz, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is gearing up to formalize her entry in weightlifting for this year’s Games and is training in Malaysia. The same goes for skateboarder Margielyn Didal, who is just a competition away from formalizing her qualification.

Mr. Fernandez said that PSC has the athletes’ back in their Olympic push in tandem with their respective mother sports associations, trying their best to furnish what they need as far as their training goes notwithstanding the limitations presented by the trying times.

He went to say though that the situation with the coronavirus pandemic and how it would affect the rescheduled Olympic Games is a concern they are keenly keeping an eye on.

“Frankly, the Tokyo Olympics is still not 100 percent [sure to push through]. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. We’re playing it by the ear,” said Mr. Fernandez, who is also the chief of mission of Team Philippines for the 31st Southeast Asia Games in Vietnam later this year.

In the last Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio, Brazil, the Philippines was represented by 13 athletes in eight sports. Ms. Diaz was the lone athlete to win a medal.