The Tokyo Olympics being canceled totally has never crossed the mind of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
In fact, the Tolentino wants to send a strong delegation to the quadrennial Games with the singular objective of winning the country’s first gold medal.
“We only have one plan and that is to win a gold medal in the Olympics. There’s no Plan B,” said Tolentino. “Let’s not even think that it won’t push through.”
Tolentino is convinced that there’s no better time for Filipino athletes to capture that elusive gold than in Tokyo where the probability of success is high.
World champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo and boxer Eumir Marcial can end the nation’s hunger for Olympic gold as well as Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) and Asian pole vault champion EJ Obiena based on their previous performances.
Lady pug Nesthy Petecio, once she makes it to the Games, can pull it off as well as reigning Asian Games skateboarding gold medalist Margielyn Didal.
“I believe that we are in the best position to win that gold. This is our time,” said Tolentino, also the president of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines.
The raging global COVID-19 health crisis, however, is threatening to tear this dream apart with host Japan extending its coronavirus state of emergency until March 7, four months prior to the Olympics set from July 23 to Aug. 8.
Despite the extension of the measures to curb the spread of the virus, former Japan Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, assured that the Games would proceed as scheduled.
“I’m a positive person, The Olympics will happen, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and the host country will make it happen,” said Tolentino, pointing out that stringent health protocols will be in place for the safety of the athletes.
A cancellation of the Games would mean that Filipino athletes would have to wait for the 2024 Paris Games to end the country’s gold-medal drought.
By that time, Diaz will already be 33 years old and Petecio, 32, while Marcial and Obiena will be 29. INQ
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