Better to scrap Tokyo Olympics, prepare for Paris 2024, says PSC chief

Published January 15, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Olympic-bound athletes boxer Eumir Felix Marcial, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxer Irish Magno (Handout Photos)

Is it better to scrap the Tokyo Olympics for good?

If Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez has the final say, he would rather choose to call off the Tokyo Games than risk the health and safety of the Filipino athletes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The PSC chief told Manila Bulletin Friday that one of the possible options is to totally cancel the Tokyo Games and prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics instead.

“Ang akin pananaw, I better scrap the Tokyo Olympics and look at Paris Olympics kasi ‘yung pag-prepare ng atleta, lalo na malalaking delegasyon, hindi ganoon kadali mag-prepare,” said Ramirez. “Mahirap talaga ‘pag isa ang nadale diyan sa infection. Para sa akin, save lives muna tayo then prepare for the future.”

Despite the vaccine development and its distribution to different countries, Ramirez stressed that circumstances still remain uncertain since the COVID-19 aftermath would be felt for a long time.

A December poll by Japan broadcaster NHK showed that the majority of Japanese people favor a further delay or outright cancellation of the coronavirus-postponed Tokyo Olympics.

But organizers were firm to push the Games through with its opening on July 23 despite the surging cases of COVID-19 globally.

In the Philippines alone, just this Wednesday, the Department of Health confirmed that the new COVID-19 virus variant discovered in the United Kingdom is now in the country.

Read: What’s inside the Inspire Sports Academy? Safe haven for athletes welcome new batch of guests

The development came at the wrong time as Olympic hopefuls in boxing, taekwondo, and karate are set to kick off off their 90-day training under a bubble setup at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna for the upcoming qualifying tournaments.

Read: National boxers arrive at Inspire; PSC chief wants zero infection inside bubble
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez

“Okay nang mawalan ng medalya, mawalan ng incentive, [as long as] walang mangyari sa buhay ng tao. Sa akin, we can forego the Tokyo Olympics or the [Southeast Asian] Games and be alive for the coming days,” added Ramirez.

So far, Filipino bets pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno have made the Olympic grade.