FORMER Olympic medalist and current national men’s elite team assistant coach Roel Velasco described that moving the Tokyo Olympics to July next year favored Philippine athletes.
“The postponement of the Summer Olympics will help our Filipino athletes to prepare rigidly for next year’s Olympics,” said the Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist. “Moreover, this will also give time to our coaches and athletes to reflect while they are in quarantine,” he added.
As of March 2020, the Philippines has already qualified four athletes for Tokyo Olympics that include men’s pole vaulter Ernest Obiena, artistic gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno.
The University of Santo Tomas Electronics Engineering student Obiena became the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after clearing 5.81 meters in Pole-Vaulting athletics meet in Piazza Chiari, Italy last September 3, 2019.
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old gymnast Yulo earned a spot in the men’s individual all-around and apparatus events, by topping the list of twelve gymnasts eligible for qualification at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. This is also the first time that the Philippines entered the Olympic competition since 1968.
Filipino boxer Marcial, the 2019 World Championship silver medalist, also secured an Olympic berth in the men’s middleweight, while Magno, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games runner-up, entered the women’s flyweight. During the 2020 Asia and Oceania Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan held last March 3-11, 2020, Marcial dominated the men’s middleweight, while Magno scored a box-off triumph in her division.