PSC ready to support extended Olympic buildup
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Sports Commission expressed readiness to support the Filipino qualifiers and aspirants in their extended buildup for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The Olympiad has been pushed back by a year to July 24-Aug. 8 next year, stretching the preparation time for the four Tokyo-bound bets as well as several others still vying for berths.

“Yes, we’re ready (to support the athletes all the way through),” PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez told The STAR.

The Philippines has four athletes officially qualified before the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic put everything at a standstill.

They are pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno. Obiena and Yulo are training in Italy and Japan, respectively, and just like everyone else, they now have to tweak their respective training programs following the one-year postponement.

Rio silver medal-winning weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, world-rated judoka Kiyomi Watanabe and world boxing champ Nesthy Petecio lead another group seeking to join the Philippine Olympic team.

“Since January right after the SEA Games 2019, the PSC has started funding the Olympic training program of more than 30 elite athletes while waiting for Malacañang’s commitment of P100 million via Pagcor,” Ramirez said.

National sports associations, though, will have to wait until the COVID-19 crisis is over before they can plot new programs for the Olympians and hopefuls.

“Our potential Olympians have to make adjustments in their training. We’ll discuss changes after the lockdown,” athletics president Philip Ella Juico told The STAR.

“We have to discuss with the PSC,” added Juico, whose association eyes more qualified bets like Olympic hurdler Eric Cray, sprinter Kristina Knott, and shot put specialist William Morrison.

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