PH bets continue training as if Tokyo Games are go
Despite the uncertainty over the Tokyo Olympics, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said it will continue to ask the national sports associations to keep training their athletes like the Games will push through as scheduled.
POC spokesperson Ed Picson said they are closely monitoring the developments concerning the COVID-19 epidemic and how it could affect the Tokyo Games, which is slated on July 24 to Aug. 9.
“We will await developments, but in the meantime, we will continue in anticipation that the Olympics will push through,” Picson told the Inquirer.
The Philippines already has two outright qualifiers for the Games in World gymnastics champion Carlos Edriel Yulo and Asian pole vault champion Ernest John Obiena.
But plenty are closing in on slots, including Rio 2016 weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, triathlete Kim Mangrobang and shot putter William Morrison.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, a spokesperson for the Japanese government on Wednesday said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and local organizers are going ahead as planned with the Tokyo Olympics despite the threat of the spreading coronavirus.
The comments from spokesperson Yoshihide Suga follow the assertion by former IOC vice-president Dick Pound that organizers face a three-month window to decide the fate of the games.
The Olympics are set to open on July 24 with 11,000 athletes. The Paralympics open on Aug. 25 with 4,400.
Pound told the Associated Press that the fast-spreading virus could cancel the Olympics. Suga says Pound’s opinion does not reflect the official view of the IOC, which has repeatedly said there are no plans to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Games.
The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700 globally. China has reported 2,715 deaths among 78,064 cases on the mainland. Five deaths in Japan have been attributed to the virus and the COVID-19 it causes.
“With regard to this member’s comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that the IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled,” Suga said, speaking in Japanese at his daily news conference. —With a report from AP
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