The move to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games until next summer is the right decision.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino believes so after the Olympiad was finally postponed late Tuesday evening.
“It’s the right decision, for athletes, officials, organizers and spectators. For everybody in the Philippines, globally and for safety,” said Tolentino
The shelving of the quadrennial meet for next year was reached following talks between Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach.
Abe made this decision late Tuesday night, stating that Japan had reached an agreement with Bach and the IOC.
The threat posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was the major reason for the delay of the Games.
“It’s (postponement) better because it is not cancellation of the Games,” added Tolentino.
In their meeting, Abe and Bach agreed to stage the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics “by the summer of 2021 at the latest.”
Observers noted that this will be the first time that the Games will be postponed during a peacetime situation. The last time the Olympics was not held was when World War II broke out.
With only four Filipino athletes earning Olympic qualification slots, the postponement will give the Philippines a chance to have more qualifiers.
“Meron chance pa rin tayo sa medals (gold/s) for those who qualified because they can train more and have chances to qualify more,” said Tolentino.
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have calendared 33 sports disciplines.
And all disciplines have yet to complete their qualifiers because of the impact the virus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Tolentino said he will also ask the organizers of the 31st Southeast Asian Games to reschedule the biennial meet to a later date.
“We will recommend that Vietnam host the 31st SEA Games during the latter part of the year (2021),” said Tolentino.
When the SEA Federation Council meets in the coming months, Tolentino said he will push to have the Games moved to Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.
So far, no date has been approved by the Council.
“Those dates provide enough window from Tokyo (Olympics), which could be in the July to August period,” explained Tolentino.
The Federation is slated to have a council meeting from May 20 to 21.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Sports Commission has mobilized its sports psychology unit to check on national athletes that under its care.
PSC chairman William Ramirez said this is being done because the safety and health of everyone is a top priority.
“We have mobilized our Sports Psychology unit to actively check on our 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. Implications on the budget will remain manageable,” said Ramirez.