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Panlilio wants OIympic staging

Ian Suyu

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The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) reiterated its call for the staging of the Tokyo Olympics amid the growing concern and clamor for its cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

POC first vice president Al Panlilio said they remain firm on their stand of pushing through with the Summer Games set from 23 July to 8 August.

Panlilio, also the basketball federation chief, said holding the Olympics will inspire not just the Filipinos, but everybody around the world, sending a strong message that humanity is more powerful than the coronavirus disease.

“I think we should really proceed with the Games. It gives hope and inspirations not only to the Filipinos but for many people globally,” Panlilio, who succeeded Manny Pangilinan as PLDT chair recently, said in a press briefing.

With almost 40 days left before the largest sporting spectacle kicks off, host country Japan and the International Olympic Committee have already barred foreign guests from gracing the Summer Games.

The movement of athletes, coaches, technical officials and other delegates — including the media — would also be restricted as the Japanese are making sure that the Games will not turn into a super spreader event.

Still, several health experts and the Japanese public are calling for the scrapping of the Games, saying that opening their doors to foreigners would be very risky.

But for Panlilio, it is the last option that the organizers should take, unless the situation gets worse and affects all delegates.

“Unless something really bad (is going to) happen, then it should be a go,” Panlilio added.

So far, the Philippines already has 10 athletes bannered by Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, Margielyn Didal of skateboarding, Cris Nievarez of rowing, Carlos Yulo of gymnastics, Kurt Barbosa of taekwondo and EJ Obiena of athletics.

Boxers Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno also made it, giving the country a handsome chance of claiming its first ever Olympic gold medal.

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