POC vows to secure vaccines for Tokyo-bound athletes

Published April 20, 2021, 1:57 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino said Tuesday, April 20, they are working on prioritizing athletes bound to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Tolentino said they have already written to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on this matter and are just waiting for the response as athletes are busy training and qualifying to the Summer Games scheduled July 23 to Aug. 8.

“Definitely, there will be vaccines for Tokyo-bound delegates,” said Tolentino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Online Forum.

“Ang tanong lang, kailan dadating yung supply.”

Tolentino said they have three options on where to provide vaccines for athletes: first, from the government; second, from business tycoon Enrique Razon’s commitment of providing Moderna vaccines; and third, from the POC vaccine procurement project headed by First Vice President Al Panlilio.

“Alin ang mauna sa tatlo, dun na tayo,” Tolentino said.

“Sabi nga, ‘The best vaccine is the available vaccine. Whether it’s from Russia, China, Europe, US… kung alin ang meron, we’ll take it.”

So far the country has seven qualifiers to the Olympics namely Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam in boxing, Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting, EJ Obiena in athletics and Carlos Yulo in gymnastics.

Tolentino expects more athletes to earn berths since qualifiers are still scheduled in the coming months such as those from karatedo, taekwondo, judo, rowing, surfing, skateboarding, cycling, athletics and golf to name a few.