Sports officials will be closely monitoring the departure of five of the 19 Filipino athletes heading for the Tokyo Olympics.
From their departure to Japan and their stay in Tokyo all the way to their return to Manila, the Philippine Sports Commission will make sure that the five athletes will be on schedule for all their events in the quadrennial meet.
National training director Marc Edward Velasco said this as the government sports agency keeps an eye on rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, weightlifter Elreen Ando and shooter Jayson Valdez.
All five are based in the Philippines, unlike their 14 other counterparts, who will come from countries where they either trained or competed.
So far, Nievarez will be coming from Quezon City, while Barbosa will depart from within Metro Manila, Didal and Ando will be coming from Cebu City, and Valdez will be from the Central Luzon area.
Golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, sprinter Kristina Knott and boxer Eumir Marcial will be coming from the United States, Juvic Pagunsan from England, Hidilyn Diaz from Malaysia, Ernest John Obiena from Italy, and boxers Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam from Thailand. Gymnast Carlos Yulo and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe are based in Japan.
Velasco said on a Facebook Live update that the home-based athletes could fall into situations that arise from quarantine protocols and travel restrictions imposed by the government to control the spread of COVID-19. And these problems could result in delays in their schedule.
Coordination on their activities are now being done with the support of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Flight arrangements of the athletes and officials of the national delegation to the Olympics are almost done.
But the arrangements on quarantine and isolation protocols involving the five will be tricky, as they must coordinate with the different local government units involved on their trip to Manila, the isolation facilities for quarantine and the flight to Japan.
“We’re making sure that their RT-PCR tests are on schedule and isolation hotels, pre-departure and post-arrival, are arranged. So, right now, all systems are a go,” added Velasco.
Quarantine for the athletes will just be an option, according to Velasco.
If an LGU insists that the athletes must isolate, the five athletes will have the option of using a PSC-coordinated hotel, which will make sure that they will not miss their stint in the Olympics.
“Ito na ang pinaka-malakas, so far, na grupo na pupunta sa Olympics. And even the legends like Onyok Velasco and Elma Muros, they are proud of them,” said Velasco.
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