Training bubble for Filipino athletes in Tokyo, why not?
MANILA, Philippines—With the International Olympic Committee ruling out another postponement of next year’s Tokyo Olympics, suggestions of creating a training bubble for Filipino athletes in Japan have surfaced.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino said he’s open to the idea of sending the country’s Olympic qualifiers to Tokyo for them to adjust to the conditions way ahead of the Games
“There are no discussions yet, but I welcome the idea (of a training bubble in Japan),’’ said Tolentino.
The Cavite representative, however, pointed out that such a plan could only be made possible on the initiative of the national sports associations.
“They (NSAs) have to coordinate with their IFs (international federations) if they will be allowed to do it or not. As for me, why not if it will prove beneficial for our athletes?’’ said Tolentino.
So far there are only four Filipino qualifiers to Tokyo—pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno—but more are anticipated to join them once the Olympic qualifiers for various sports open shop in January. The world champion Yulo is already based in Japan.
A total of 82 athletes from 19 sports are still seeking Olympic spots, with 65 of them in the country waiting for the green light to resume training.
Sending Olympic-bound Filipinos early was already part of the discussions, but plans have been altered after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused the postponement of the Olympics this year.
“Once it happens (training bubble), we will have to find a venue outside of the Olympic village. There are specific dates when a country shall be allowed to enter the village,’’ said Tolentino.
The PhilCycling president is likewise certain that athletes and coaches will encounter strict health protocols on their way to Tokyo with a negative test from COVID-19 a chief requirement.
Reports have it that the IOC and Japan organizers are keen on holding the Olympics with or without an efficiently developed vaccine for COVID-19.