'Sigh of relief' as PH national athletes get gov't OK for priority vaccination

'Sigh of relief' as PH national athletes get gov't OK for priority vaccination

MANILA, Philippines—Preparations for the Olympics and 2021 Southeast Asian Games can now go into full swing after the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the inclusion of national athletes in Priority Group A4 for COVID-19 vaccine inoculation.

National athletes, coaches, delegates, and officials were all included in the government’s priority list for vaccination, the IATF declared.

“The entire sports community can now heave a sigh of relief with this approval,” said Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “With this good news, our athletes can now look forward to serious training and preparations for two major competitions.”

There are eight Filipinos who have qualified for the Tokyo Games from July 23 to August 8 while the PSC is planning to send 626 athletes to Hanoi to compete in 39 of the 40 sports from November 21 to December 2.

Boxers Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and rower Chris Nievarez have all qualified for Tokyo.

Of the Tokyo-bound athletes, Marcial has already received two doses of his vaccine in the United States while Diaz got her first in Malaysia.

The IATF also approved the bubble-type setup for the training of national teams as long a the structure is applicable to the guidelines of the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board and the Department of Health.