Boxer Eumir Felix Marcial will be replacing EJ Obiena as the country’s male flag-bearer in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23 at the National Stadium.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino made the announcement Thursday, adding that Marcial’s arrival and competition schedules align with the recent protocols for flag-bearers in the Games.
In the new protocol, flag-bearers must be in Tokyo 48 hours before the July 23 ceremony.
Marcial is expected to arrive in Tokyo on Saturday after taking multiple flights from his training camp in Colorado Springs, United States on Thursday.
Obiena, who was initially selected to carry the country’s colors, will only arrive hours before the opening and couldn’t rebook his flight anymore.
Tolentino said because of the protocols, Obiena should be expecting delays at the airport that would make it impossible for him to catch the opening ceremony.
“He (Marcial) has the most flexible schedule before and after the opening ceremony,” Tolentino said.
“We have already informed Eumir about his task and we are very thankful to EJ for understanding.”
Marcial, who is competing in the men’s middleweight division, will join female flag-bearer Kiyomi Watanabe of judo and six other officials in the parade of colors.
The officials are chief of mission Nonong Araneta, Philippine Judo Federation President Dave Carter, boxing coach Nolito Velasco, skateboarding coach Daniel Velasco, Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines head Cynthia Carrion.