Pinoy athletes training abroad to receive COVID vaccines in host countries

Published June 10, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Philippine Olympic Committee (POCpre) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and the members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool strike a pose after receiving the first dose of the vaccine last Friday.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino announced Thursday, June 10, that Olympic-bound athletes training abroad would get inoculated with anti-COVID-19 vaccines in their host countries.

Tolentino said Malaysia assured weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and her team will get their second dose of vaccine, while Japanese sports officials guaranteed world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and his Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya will get vaccinated there.

Boxers Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, meanwhile, will get inoculated in Thailand.

Another Tokyo-bound boxer, Eumir Felix Marcial, has already completed his vaccines in the United States early this year.

“I’d like to express my gratitude to all our National Olympic Committee (NOC) neighbors for helping our athletes to get vaccinated,” said Tolentino.

“Although vaccines are not mandatory in the Olympics, we cannot put the well-being and health of our athletes at risk. Once you’re tested positive, you’re automatically out of competition.”

The POC is reaching out to pole vaulter EJ Obiena to get his vaccines in Italy, while newly-qualified skateboarder Margie Didal and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa will get their first dose during the second batch of mass vaccination of athletes and coaches within the month.

Rower Cris Nievarez, meanwhile, got his first dose last May 28 along with Southeast Asian Games-bound athletes.