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Nonong Araneta to NSAs: Adjust training program

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By Nick Giongco

Nonong Araneta, chief of mission to the Tokyo Olympics that will now have to be played next year, reminded national sports associations to reset their training program.

The decision by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers to push the Olympics “not later than the summer of 2021” didn’t come as a surprise.

Nonong Araneta flashes a thumbs up sign after being re-elected as Philippine Football Federation President (Jonas Terrado)

Nonong Araneta (Jonas Terrado)

“A lot of things were happening and the health of everyone is the primary concern,” said Araneta Wednesday.

As to when exactly in 2021 the Tokyo Olympics will happen is up in the air and Araneta feels a decision might come in about a month as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the meantime, Araneta is urging all NSA leaders to adjust their athletes’ preparations.

“For those that have qualified, it’s best for the NSAs to recalibrate their training. We have to get new official date of the Olympics. For those that are trying to qualify, they have to get new schedule of qualifiers from their IF (international federation). Meantime, we pray that they stay healthy and safe,” added Araneta.

The Philippines has so far qualified four to the Tokyo Olympics that was supposed to take place from July 24-Aug. 9.

The first to make the grade was Italy-based pole vaulter EJ Obiena. World champion gymnast Carlos Yulo followed shortly and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno are the latest additions following their campaign during the Asia-Oceania qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, a little over two weeks ago.

The Jordan slugfest was the last event that was completed among all Olympic-related tournaments.

The European qualifiers in London were already under way when organizers decided to stop it early last week owing to the rise in cases of coronavirus patients in England.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Olympic Committee lauded the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone Tokyo 2020.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino speaks at the send-off of athletes for the 30th SEA Games at the Rizal Stadium last November 13. (MB Photo / Alvin Kasiban)

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino (MB Photo / Alvin Kasiban)

“It’s the right decision — for athletes, officials, organizers and spectators.

For our safety,” said POC president and Tagaytay congressman Bambol Tolentino in a statement released on Wednesday.

The delay will allow the four Filipino qualifiers and those aspiring to make it to boost their chances.

“May chance pa rin tayo sa medals (gold/s) for those who qualified because they can train more and chance to qualify more.”

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