MANILA — Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez on Wednesday welcomed the official postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“It’s the right decision—for athletes, officials, organizers and spectators. [This is] for our safety,” Tolentino said in a statement.
“I have always expressed that I favor its postponement, given the way this crisis seems to be taking,” Ramirez, for his part, said in a separate statement.
On Tuesday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to formally postpone the Games originally scheduled for July 24 to August 9 to sometime in 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“As I have mentioned before, safety and health of everyone is a top priority,” Ramirez continued.
Tolentino reiterated that the postponement is the best option.
“It’s better because it is not cancellation of the Games,” he added.
He said the postponement will benefit the national athletes who already booked a spot in Tokyo Olympics and also those who are still in the qualifying phases.
“May chance pa rin tayo sa (We still have chance for) medals for those who qualified because they can train more and chance to qualify more” Tolentino said.
Ramirez, meanwhile, said the PSC has mobilized its Sports Psychology unit to actively check the country’s national athletes and conduct guidance counseling (online or by phone for now) “for our athletes who might need their support given the challenges which resulted from these developments.”
A total of 33 sports are scheduled in the Tokyo Olympics, all of which have qualifiers that have been postponed or halted due to COVID-19.
One of which is badminton, in which a qualifying tournament, the Badminton Asia Championships to be hosted by the Philippines, was postponed indefinitely. (PNA)