MANILA – The country’s Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes who are training abroad will get their Covid-19 vaccines in their host countries, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said.
Tolentino said Malaysia assured that weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and her team will get their second dose of the vaccine, while Japanese sports officials guaranteed the inoculation of gymnast Carlos Yulo and his Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya.
“I’d like to express my gratitude to all our NOC neighbors for helping our athletes to get vaccinated,” Tolentino, also the PhilCycling president, said in a news release on Thursday.
Diaz and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo and Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao have been training in Selangor for more than a year.
The boxers—particularly Olympic qualifiers Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam—will get their shots at their Thailand training camp. Eumir Felix Marcial completed his vaccines in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Also getting their vaccines while abroad are boxers Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista, James Palicte, Marjon Piañar, Risa Pasuit and Aira Villegas and coaches Donald Abnett, Nolito “Boy” Velasco, Ronald Chavez, Elmer Pamisa and Reynaldo Galido.
Yulo and Kugimiya, on the other hand, will be jabbed anytime soon with Tolentino and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion-Norton securing the guarantee from the Japan Olympic Committee and the Japanese Gymnastics Association.
“Although vaccine is not mandatory in the Olympics, we cannot put the well-being and health of our athletes at risk,” Tolentino said. “Once you’re tested positive, you’re automatically out of the competition.”
Tolentino said the POC is reaching out to pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena to get his vaccines in Italy, where he is training.
Rower Cris Nievarez already got his first dose of the vaccine, along with 729 Southeast Asian Games-bound athletes and coaches last May 28 in Manila.
Taekwondo’s Kurt Bryan Barbosa and newly-qualified skateboarder Tokyo Olympian Margielyn Didal will get their first dose in the second batch of mass vaccination of athletes and coaches within the month.
A total of 870 more athletes and coaches from national sports associations which are not on the Hanoi SEA Games program are now in the POC, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Manila vaccination program. (PR)