Back-breaking trip to Rio awaits Pinoys
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - This early, there’s one major concern for Filipino athletes who will eventually qualify and get to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

It’s the back-breaking journey from Manila to Rio de Janeiro, the city of Carnivals, samba and Ipanema beaches.

Jose Romasanta, vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, recently visited Rio for a meeting among the chef-de-missions.

“It will take you almost two days to get there, plus the day you prepare for your departure that’s already three days,” said Romasanta.

The 2016 Summer Olympics is scheduled Aug. 5 to 21, and since the Athletes Village opens its doors to the thousands of athletes on July 24, it’s better for the Filipino athletes to get there early.

“When you get there, you will need two days to shed off jetlag. The travel time and the jetlag alone means they will miss five days of training,” he said.

Romasanta brought the matter up to the POC board, and everybody, including the POC president, Jose Cojuangco, agreed to bring the athletes ahead of time.

“Those from our region will do the same so their athletes can settle down. At least 10 days before the start they will be there to acclimatize,” he said.

“It will be a pity if you try very hard to qualify and when you get there you squander all your efforts because of jetlag and the stress of travel,” Romansanta said.

There are at least two ways to get to Rio: Manila to Hong Kong to London to Rio or Manila to Dubai to Rio. The first option takes like 23 hours of flight time, and the second one around 25 hours.

“You count the waiting time at the airport of two hours in Hong Kong and five hours in London. It’s very stressful,” the POC official said.

So far, only one Filipino athlete has qualified to the Rio Olympics – track and field’s Eric Cray.

The POC is hoping to qualify more to the Games, and early expectations point to a dozen or more athletes.

“If we qualify 15 to 20 athletes I will be happy,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia.

ACIRC ATHLETES ATHLETES VILLAGE ERIC CRAY HONG KONG JOSE COJUANGCO JOSE ROMASANTA PHILIPPINE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PHILIPPINE SPORTS COMMISSION RICHIE GARCIA RIO OLYMPICS
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