Olympians get full support staff
World champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo and Asian champion pole vaulter EJ Obiena will have the luxury of their own support crews all the way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The same treatment will be provided for by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to all Filipino athletes who follow their footsteps and qualify to the global quadrennial Games.
PSC chair Butch Ramirez mentioned that a sports psychologist, nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach, physiotherapist, physical therapist and a sports science expert will comprise the support team of each Olympic-bound athlete.
Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz was the first athlete to avail of a support staff with foreign coach Kaiwen Gao, psychologist Karen Trinidad, nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, masseur Belan Banas, strength coach Julius Naranjo and physiotherapist Rico Barin joining Diaz during training and foreign competitions.
Diaz, ranked No. 3 in world in the women’s 55kg division, has two more Olympic qualifying competitions—the World Cup in Rome on Jan. 27-31 and Asian championships in Kazakhstan on April 20-25.
So far, only Obiena and Yulo have booked their tickets to the Tokyo Summer Games with over 70 Filipino athletes from various sports eyeing the same in the first quarter of the year.
Obiena, the first Filipino qualifier, has a foreign mentor in legendary pole vault coach Vitaly Petrov. Part of Obiena’s team is his father, Elmer as assistant coach, psychologist Sheryll Catsuga and nutritionist Carol Lafferty.
Yulo, No. 10 in the world in men’s artistic gymnastics, is under foreign coach Munehiro Kugiyama, but has yet to hire his staff.
The PSC will screen applicants and potential sports science personnel to complete the support teams of the Tokyo-bound athletes. The support staff of Obiena will join him in Italy while Yulo’s team will be in Japan in the months leading to the Olympics.The government sports agency likewise revealed plans to house all Filipino Olympic qualifiers in Tokyo from the time they qualify until the competition proper of the Games.
Also looking for Olympic spots are boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial, lifter Nestor Colonia, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, sprinter Kristina Knott, golfers Yuka Saso, Dottie Ardina and Bianca Pagdanganan.
Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, cyclist Daniel Caluag, swimmers James Deiparine and Remedy Rule, taekwondo’s Pauline Lopez and Samuel Morrison, canoe’s Hermie Macaranas and OJ Fuentes will compete in their respective qualifying meets as well. INQ
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