All set for Team PH trip to Tokyo Olympics
Bracing for the ultimate challenge of their lives, 17 Filipino athletes from 10 sports and two swimmers to be named later will be ready for the Tokyo Olympics after the entire Philippine delegation secured its three-week stay in the Japanese capital.
“In three weeks, the urn in Tokyo will be burning and Team Philippines, from the athletes and coaches down to the secretariat, are ready for action,’’ said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president and Cavite representative Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino.
Team Philippines chef de mission Mariano Araneta heads the first batch of officials prepared to set foot in Tokyo via Narita on July 15, and will go directly to Conrad Hotel, the official home of the national contingent for the duration of the July 23 to Aug. 28 Games.
“The POC and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) secured the Conrad Hotel just in time and we’re glad that has been accomplished,’’ said Tolentino. “In terms of administrative and secretariat matters, we’re all settled.’’
The PSC released on Thursday P11 million for the accommodation expenses of Team Philippines.
Rio de Janeiro Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting will be in her fourth consecutive Olympics and headlines the contingent with gold prospects Carlos Yulo of gymnastics, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and golfer Yuka Saso.
Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial likewise are being eyed to notch the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal as well as taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosa and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.
Weightlifter Elreen Ando, rower Cris Nievarez, golfers Juvic Pagunsan and Bianca Pagdanganan, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, sprinter Kristina Knott, shooter Jayson Valdez and boxers Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno are similarly eyeing podium finishes.
Two more swimmers are expected to join them with Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lailani Velasco still waiting for an official announcement from the International Swimming Federation.
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