Tabal, POC chief back postponement of Tokyo Olympics
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Amid the impending postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan due to the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, Cebuana marathoner Joy Tabal said a postponement would mean competing athletes will be able to enjoy the Games more and not be wary about their health and well being.
Tabal’s statements came after the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino also supported calls to have the Games moved to 2021 rather than cancel it outright.
“It’s better to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rather than cancelation so as not to lose (Philippines) our chance for our first gold medal—or even more golds,” said Tolentino in a statement sent to the media.
Tolentino further added that a postponement could mean that more Filipinos would have more chances to qualify.
“A postponement would mean more time to train for those who have already qualified and for those who are still trying to qualify,” said Tolentino.
According to Tolentino, “A 2021 schedule is ideal enough.”
The holding of the Olympics has been put into question amid growing concerns following the global crisis brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared as already a pandemic.
Aside from many of the qualifying tournaments getting canceled, Canada and Australia have also stated that they will not be sending athletes to the Olympics should it push through.
Tabal, the first Filipino marathoner to compete in the Olympics, is one of those whose chances of qualifying were jeopardized when three of the qualifiers she was hoping to get points from were cancelled.
“I would be glad if we will be able to have the Olympics at a time where it is surrounded by excitement and celebration rather than stress and anxiety and because the safety of the people in the world will always be most important,” said Tabal.
“And also, it is just postponed and not cancelled. Right now, we should all be more concerned about the health of our world than excellence in sports,” Tabal said.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to come up with a decision whether to postpone or scrap the Games in the next few weeks.
Tabal is hoping that the IOC would make a favorable decision.
“I am excited to have the Olympic Games when this is all over as something we can look forward to as a celebration, whenever that maybe,” she said.
Tabal added that she would relish the time given should it be postponed because it will give her time to bring her body back to tiptop condition and once again aim to qualify.
“I will be grateful for my health and the ability to continue to practice my sport and to better prepare me for I am still a dreamer,” she said. /rcg
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