IATF OKs bubble training of Olympics, SEA Games athletes; participants to be prioritized in vaccination

Published May 21, 2021, 12:47 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The government’s pandemic task force has green-lit the bubble-type training of Filipino athletes participating in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games later this year.

Omega, the official timekeeper of Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games (File photo)

In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the bubble-type training subject to guidelines.

“Athletes bound for the Tokyo Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games may commence with their bubble-type training, subject to the applicable guidelines of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), and the Department of Health (DOH),” he said.

Roque likewise announced that the IATF has approved the Technical Working Group’s recommendation to the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG) to prioritize the vaccination of athletes, coaches, delegates, and officials bound for the Tokyo Olympics and the SEA Games.

During the PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing on Friday morning, Roque wished the athletes good luck in their endeavor.

“Sana nga po, bring home the gold sa Tokyo (We hope that you will bring home the gold from the Tokyo Olympics),” he said.

The PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said that the country was expecting to form a delegation with around 100 members for the Olympics and an estimated 1,500-strong delegation for the SEA Games. These include athletes, coaches, and team officials, among others.

The Japanese government had announced that it would push ahead with the Summer Olympics with the opening ceremony taking place on July 23.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympics Committee stated that vaccinations, while ‘strongly encouraged’, would not be mandatory for athletes to participate.

On Thursday, May 6, the IOC announced U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech would also be donating vaccines to inoculate athletes and officials.

Meanwhile, the SEA Games are set to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam from November 21 to December 2 this year and will feature 40 sports, mainly those played at the Olympic Games.