PHL team ready for Olympic opening; coach out over COVID scare

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TEAM Philippines is ready for the official opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games on Friday, but it still has no clue how ceremonies will be conducted as organizers are still keeping things under wraps.

“We really don’t know what the opening ceremony would be like. It’s a tightly kept secret,” Philippine Chef de Mission (CDM) Mariano Araneta communicated to local sports media from Japan.

He went on to say the details of the proceedings will be made known by 4 p.m. on Friday, or four hours before the opening ceremony at 8 p.m.

Just as they await for the opening, a member coach of the country’s delegation is out of the Olympics over coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) concerns.

Boxer Eumir Felix Marcial and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe will be the country’s flag-bearers. Mr. Marcial will be wearing a cocoon silk barong with a machine-embroidered pitchera design muslin inner shirt and light wool black pants. Ms. Watanabe, on the other hand, will be clad in a cocoon silk short blazer with a machine embroidered front and sleeves and neoprene spaghetti-strapped black inner blouse and neoprene black pants.

The team’s uniforms were procured by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Apart from the flag-bearers, also representing the country in the Parade of Nations are CDM Araneta, coaches Carlos Padilla (taekwondo) Nolito Velasco (boxing) and Daniel Bautista (skateboarding), as well as Philippine Swimming, Inc. President Lani Velasco and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines head Cynthia Carrion-Norton.

The opening ceremony is expected to last for three hours and to feature 4,500 participants — athletes and officials — from 205 member national Olympic committees.

OUT OF THE GAMES
Meanwhile, a coach in the Philippine team who was not identified is out after daily saliva tests on the individual days since arrival yielded back-and-forth positive and negative results for COVID-19.

Reports coming out of Tokyo on Thursday said that to mitigate any effect on the rest of the country’s contingent, top Philippine sports officials there decided to first isolate the individual, and thereafter send the coach for repatriation if another confirmatory test comes out negative. If it is positive, the individual will be brought to a quarantine hospital.

It was not immediately known if the people the coach had been in close contact with would be isolated, too, although they had yielded negative results for COVID-19 infection. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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