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Adapting is name of the game for PH athletes as virus scare turns Olympic preparations upside down

By Nick Giongco

National athletes who are aiming for Tokyo Olympic slots are slowly adapting to the changes in their respective preparations.

Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez and Tokyo Olympics chief of mission Nonong Araneta

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, left, and Tokyo Olympics chief of mission Nonong Araneta

Chief of mission Nonong Araneta on Monday urged affected national sports association to immediately submit a revised copy of their Olympic blueprint.

Not all 16 NSAs are affected but those who had earlier booked training stints in China were told to make the necessary adjustments the soonest.

Araneta was joined during the meeting by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, who assured the NSAs that the government is fully behind their respective bids to send qualifiers to the July 24-August 9 Olympics.

NSAs that have been forced to adjust include weightlifting, boxing, taekwondo, gymnastics, athletics and skateboarding, according to Araneta, who revealed that the PSC is going to house the Olympians in Tokyo a month before the Athletes Village formally opens its gates.

“The plan is for the athletes to spend the final few weeks of training in Japan so they can all get used to the conditions,” said Araneta.

While admitting that the Wuhan coronavirus has impacted on the NSAs’ plans, “it’s also happening to the other countries.”

“It’s not just us but every country that has plans to train and compete in China are making adjustments,” noted Araneta.

The good thing, though, is the PSC is more than willing to shoulder the financial burden.

“The PSC simply wants all the athletes to keep their focus,” he said.

And that seems to be the case with boxing, which just sent off its men and women’s squads for a two-week camp in Thailand for the Olympic qualifiers next month in Amman, Jordan.

World champion gymnast Carlos Yulo is likewise moving on after his plan to hone his skills in China got scrapped.

Carlos Yulo performs in parallel bars, scoring 14.600, to bag silver medal in the men's artistic gymnastics in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila, Dec. 4, 2019. Yulo ends the SEA Games campaign with 2 golds and five silvers. (MB Photo / Alec Go)

Carlos Yulo  (MB Photo / Alec Go)

“This was before the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak,” said gymnastics chief Cynthia Carrion.

Yulo is now looking to train Israel before taking part in the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan in March.

From Baku, Yulo will head back to Tokyo where he will be based until the Olympics begin.

Carrion said Yulo won’t be “jumping from one place to another”.

“The advice that we got is for Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) to stay in one place,” said Carrion.

Rio 2016 silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, meanwhile, is Malaysia-bound in preparation for the Asian championships in Kazakhstan in April.

Hidilyn Diaz waves to the crowd after bagging the gold medal in the women's weightlifting 55kg category, her first for the Southeast Asian Games, in the 30th version of the regional biennial meet at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, December 2, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Captured using Canon 5D Mark IV with 300mm f4 lens)

Hidilyn Diaz (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Source: Manila Bulletin

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