Watanabe, Obiena picked as flag-bearers | Inquirer Sports

Watanabe, Obiena picked as flag-bearers

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:15 AM July 09, 2021

Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe will be waving the Philippine flag in the scaled-down opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino named Obiena and Watanabe as the country’s flag-bearers on Thursday, saying availability and competition schedule were the primary considerations in making the choices.


“The schedule of their events were considered. I personally talked to the coaches and officials of all the athletes that we asked to become our flag-bearers and they told me the situation,’’ Tolentino said during a virtual press conference.


Tolentino had earlier told reporters that the selection would be made from those who will be in Tokyo during the opening ceremony with those whose competition schedules were not too close to the July 23 opening prioritized.

Obiena, who recently rose to No. 6 in the men’s pole vault rankings, will go through the qualifying of his event in Tokyo on July 31 and compete in the finals on Aug. 3. The Japan-based Watanabe will step on the mat at the Nippon Budokan on July 27.

Yulo declines honor

Tolentino said the International Olympic Committee has asked the POC to name two flag-bearers—one male and a female—for the opening ceremony. They will be accompanied by six officials during the parade of countries.

Team Philippines chef de mission Nonong Araneta, swimming president Lani Velasco, judo chief Dave Carter, POC treasurer and gymnastics head Cynthia Carrion, boxing coach Nolito Velasco and skateboarding coach Daniel Bautista will march with Obiena and Watanabe.

Also considered as flag-bearer was gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, whose team declined since the gold-medal prospect is scheduled to compete in the qualification and ranking rounds of men’s artistic gymnastics on July 24.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, on her four consecutive Olympics, will see action in the women’s 55 kilogram category on July 26, the same day that skateboarder Margielyn Didal rolls on the women’s street event at the Aomi Urban Venue.

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TAGS: honor, Obiena, Tokyo Olympics, Watanabe

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