MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will not go the way of Australia and Canada as it reaffirms its commitment to participate in the Tokyo Olympics this July amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s their choice,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino on Tuesday told The STAR in reaction to the plan of the Australians and Canadians to withdraw from the biennial summer games if the Olympics will not be moved to next year.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, for his part, said the best solution is for the Olympics to be held next year.
“The highest primary concerns of sports officials are the safety and health. And the way environment is directing nationally and internationally, we should consider Tokyo Olympics next year,” said Ramirez. “We have to be sensitive to WHO (World Health Organization) and government concern and not the games and the money at stake.”
Ramirez said it is time to momentarily put all sports events to stop.
“This is a public health crisis and to think of sports is inappropriate. Safety and health should be our primary concern. That is why 2021 is a good option for the Olympics,” he said.
Tolentino said this edition is the country’s best opportunity of ending the country’s long search for that elusive Olympic gold medal and withdrawing from it would be equivalent to giving up on that dream.
The PhilCycling president is pinning his hopes on world champion gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno as the country’s best bets to strike a medal, hopefully a gold.
Hidilyn Diaz, 2016 Rio silver medalist, is also another potential goldmine in Tokyo although she is still waiting for the International Weightlifting Federation to grant her request that she be accepted despite lacking one tournament due to recent cancellations and postponements of the tournaments she was supposed to join.
“For me, this could be our best chance to win the gold. It would be for naught if we withdraw especially if the Olympics will only be rescheduled and not cancelled outright,” said Tolentino.
Truly, the Olympics would more likely be reset rather than canceled after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said recently it “will not be cancelled” that possibly moving it to 2021.
Date: March 24, 2020 | By: Joey Villar | Newspaper: Philippine Star | Source: https://www.philstar.com/sports/2020/03/23/2002924/philippines-committed-tokyo-olympics-australia-canada-withdraw