Marcial replaces Obiena as Philippine flagbearer for Olympics
MANILA, Philippines – Boxer Eumir Felix Marcial will replace Ernest John EJ” Obiena as the Philippines’ male flagbearer alongside judoka Kiyomi Watanabe in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23 at the National Stadium.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Tuesday that it would be more convenient for Marcial to carry the country’s colors because he will be arriving in Tokyo this weekend.
“He [Marcial] has the most flexible schedule before and after the opening ceremony,” Tolentino said “We have already informed Eumir about his task and we are very thankful to EJ for understanding. He cannot rebook his flight anymore.”
Marcial took multiple flights from his training camp in Colorado Springs in the US on Thursday and is expected to land in Tokyo on Saturday, six days before the opening ceremony.
Obiena, on the other hand, is coming in from Italy and will be in Japan just hours before the opening ceremony.
“Because of protocols, EJ should be expecting delays at the airport and that would make it impossible for him to catch the opening ceremony,” Tolentino said.
Marcial, who turned professional last year, will make his Olympic debut on July 25 in the men’s middleweight round-of-32.
He will join female -63 kg judoka Kiyomi Watanabe as the other flag bearer
Watanabe, who is based in Japan, will compete in women’s -63 kgs of judo on July 27.
Six Filipino officials are joining the parade of countries — chef de mission Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, Philippine Judo Federation President Dave Carter, boxing coach Nolito Velasco, skateboarding coach Daniel Velasco, Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines head Carrion-Norton.