Adapting is name of the game for PH athletes as virus scare turns Olympic preparations upside down

National athletes who are aiming for Tokyo Olympic slots are slowly adapting to the changes in their respective preparations.


Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, left, and Tokyo Olympics chief of mission Nonong Araneta

Chief of mission Nonong Araneta on Monday urged affected national sports association to immediately submit a revised copy of their Olympic blueprint.

Not all 16 NSAs are affected but those who had earlier booked training stints in China were told to make the necessary adjustments the soonest.

Araneta was joined during the meeting by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, who assured the NSAs that the government is fully behind their respective bids to send qualifiers to the July 24-August 9 Olympics.

NSAs that have been forced to adjust include weightlifting, boxing, taekwondo, gymnastics, athletics and skateboarding, according to Araneta, who revealed that the PSC is going to house the Olympians in Tokyo a month before the Athletes Village formally opens its gates.

“The plan is for the athletes to spend the final few weeks of training in Japan so they can all get used to the conditions,” said Araneta.

While admitting that the Wuhan coronavirus has impacted on the NSAs’ plans, “it’s also happening to the other countries.”

“It’s not just us but every country that has plans to train and compete in China are making adjustments,” noted Araneta.

The good thing, though, is the PSC is more than willing to shoulder the financial burden.

“The PSC simply wants all the athletes to keep their focus,” he said.

And that seems to be the case with boxing, which just sent off its men and women’s squads for a two-week camp in Thailand for the Olympic qualifiers next month in Amman, Jordan.

World champion gymnast Carlos Yulo is likewise moving on after his plan to hone his skills in China got scrapped.


“This was before the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak,” said gymnastics chief Cynthia Carrion.

Yulo is now looking to train Israel before taking part in the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan in March.

From Baku, Yulo will head back to Tokyo where he will be based until the Olympics begin.

Carrion said Yulo won’t be “jumping from one place to another”.

“The advice that we got is for Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) to stay in one place,” said Carrion.

Rio 2016 silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, meanwhile, is Malaysia-bound in preparation for the Asian championships in Kazakhstan in April.


Date: February 11, 2020 | Newspaper: Manila Bulletin | Source: