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PH’s Rio hopes now rest on 13 athletes

RIO DE JANEIRO—At the last minute, the doors to Rio opened for Fil-Japanese judoka Kodo Nakano, who will get to compete in the 2016 Olympics and add more beef to the Philippine participation here.

The good news was relayed to Filipino chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta by Philippine Karatedo Federation president Dave Carter Wednesday morning Rio time.

According to Carter, who is in Manila, the 23-year-old Nakano has been informed of the development, and will immediately fly to Rio de Janeiro.

Nakano is expected to arrive here no later than Aug. 6 or just in time for the judo competitions on Aug. 9. He will vie in the 81-kg class.

Romasanta welcomed the entry of Nakano, who becomes the 13th Filipino athlete to compete in the Rio Olympics that formally opens on Aug. 5.

“Of course, any addition is a welcome addition,” he said.

Romasanta explained that Nakano has long been in the list of Filipino hopefuls to the Rio Olympics. But after he failed to earn an outright berth, he only hopes for a late inclusion.

The doors opened when an Iranian athlete suddenly withdrew from the competition.

“Nakano’s name and passport details were submitted to the sport entries department long before. He was in the list as a possible replacement,” said Romasanta.

“But now we were just informed by Mr. Carter that the IF (international federation) has invited Kodo Nakano by virtue of withdrawal by the entry of Iran in the 81 kg,” he added.

Romasanta said the first thing he did after his conversation with Carter was to check with Rio sports entries’ list officials about it.

“They confirmed it and they have issued him his credential,” he said.

“What we’re worried about is the jetlag factor because the events of judo will start Aug. 9,” said Romasanta.

Nakano joins Pinoy track and field bets Marestella Torres, Eric Cray and Mary Joy Tabal, boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, swimmers Jessie Khing Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia, table tennis’ Ian Lariba, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora and golfer Miguel Tabuena in the Rio squad.

Tabal arrived Wednesday evening from Japan, leaving Cray and Tabuena, and Nakano as the only ones who have yet to get here.

Nakano is based in Japan together with his Filipina mother. If he gets here as scheduled, he will only have four days to get himself in fighting form.

Whether he’s flying in from Japan or Manila, it will take Nakano close to 30 hours to get to Rio for the judo competitions on Aug. 9.

Nakano, who represented the country in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore but failed to win a medal, is in his first Olympics.

RIO DE JANEIRO – A bomb scare hit the Rio Olympics Athletes’ Village Wednesday afternoon, just a day after a similar incident forced authorities to clear the Olympic Aquatic Center due to a package that was suspected to contain a bomb.

The Welcome Center of the Athletes Village was closed to delegates as authorities, including a bomb squad, arrived because of a reported mysterious bag.

A bomb robot, according to a witness, was used to clear the bag. No bomb was found, and soon after the anti-bomb personnel left the area, and the Welcome Center, where arriving delegates go in and out, was reopened.

“It was just an abandoned bag,” said a Rio Olympics volunteer, who could not describe the bag that was left unattended.

“I didn’t see it,” she said.

Tuesday evening, authorities rushed to the Olympic Aquatic Center because of the presence of a suspicious package, just 90 minutes before the Australian swim team was scheduled to train.

Authorities cleared the area and found out that the package was actually a tool box left behind by an electrician.

The twin bomb scare came very close to the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics on Aug. 5 at the Maracana Stadium, which is more than an hour away from the Athletes Village and the Olympic Aquatic Center.

Security in the different venues to be used during the Games as well as the Athletes Village are now tighter than it was more than a week ago when delegates from 206 participating countries started to arrive.

Brazilian National Guards roam the Athletes Village 24 hours a day, most of them carrying high-powered firearms.

Filipino chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta said the heavy presence of security even inside the Athletes Village only shows the serious efforts by the hosts to prevent any untoward incident.

Col. Jeff Tamayo, an official of the Philippine Olympic Committee and in charge of the security details for the Philippine delegation here, said the presence of armed police and military personnel within the Athletes Village and the venues only shows the high level of alert.

Romasanta said he was one of the guests who were prevented from entering the Athletes Village through the Welcome Center due to the police operation.

“Whether it was an actual bomb threat or a bomb scare or an exercise, authorities here are showing their capability to act fast to such threats,” he said.

Topics: Philippine 13 athletes , Rio 2016 Olympics , Fil-Japanese Judoka Kodo Nakano
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