PH athletes unalarmed amid rumors of Olympics cancellation

Published January 22, 2021, 4:45 PM

by Waylon Galvez

irish magno
Photo from Fitstart Gym

Tokyo Olympics bound boxer Irish Magno said there is nothing she can do except to continue training amid growing concerns over the possible cancellation of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Bilang atleta tuloy lang talaga sa training, hindi ko masyado iniisip yung mga balitang hindi matutuloy. Siguro hangga’t walang announcement, tuloy lang kami sa preparation,” said Magno when contacted Friday by Manila Bulletin.

Magno is with fellow boxers, as well as athletes from taekwondo and karate, at the Inspire Sports Academy to prepare for various international tournaments that serve as Olympic qualifying meets.

Magno and Eumir Marcial earned their spots in the Tokyo Olympics via the Asian Olympic Qualifiers held last March in Amman, Jordan. However, the Games did not push through last July due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials from the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese Olympic Committee reset the Games this coming July with hopes of a better situation with the virus.

But the latest development on the health crisis — with Japan struggling to contain the outbreak with six months to go before the opening ceremony – forced some groups to call for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics.

Aside from Magno and Marcial, two other Filipinos have secured spots in the Olympics: EJ Obiena of pole vault (athletics) and gymnast Carlos Yulo. With the exception of Magno, all three are training abroad.

Marcial is in the US, Obiena is in Italy, while Yulo is in Japan.

There are a few more Tokyo Olympics hopefuls, including Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting who needs to join one more OQT to complete the required six events to advance in the Games.

Another potential Tokyo Olympics bet is Junna Tsukii of karatedo as she continues to train in Japan. In a Tweet via her @junnatsukiiv888 account, she said training is very important in every competition.

“Whether the next tournament is the Olympic qualifying or another tournament, we are preparing for the gold medal,” she said.

Coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco of the boxing national team said that the situation regarding the Tokyo Olympics is painful for the athletes since they’ve been waiting for this competition since last year.

“Siyempre nag-aalala din sila kung matutuloy ba o hindi, kaya nga sabi ko sa mga atleta natin huwag na nila pansinin kung anong mga balita ang lumalabas. Hanggat walang sinasabi na cancel ang laro, tuloy lang kami,” Velasco said.

“Mas mabuti ng preparado kesa sa hindi. Kung hindi, wala tayo magagawa, pero mahirap yung hindi ka preparado tapos tuloy ang Tokyo Olympics. Kaya sa ngayon, doo muna tayo sa tuloy kaya ensayo lang dapat.”