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Deputy Speaker Romero files resolution to declare PH athletes frontliners

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero asked the IATF to prioritize the Olympic-bound athletes too in the vaccination. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Seeing its urgency due to an expected busy sports year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero called on the Inter-Agency Task Force to prioritize the national athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers and the Southeast Asian Games as well in vaccination.

On Tuesday, Romero, a bronze medalist in polo during the 2019 SEA Games in Calatagan, filed House Resolution 1507 or "A Resolution Urging the IATF and the Appropriate Government Agencies to Classify National Athletes Who Are Vying for a Spot and Those Who Are Already Qualified to Compete in the Upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian Games as Frontliners to Prioritize Their Vaccination Against COVID-19".

"Whereas, it is imperative that our national athletes should be classified as frontliners, in order to prioritize their vaccination against COVID-19 in the soonest possible time, to ensure that they will be allowed to participate in the qualifying stages," the explanatory note to the resolution read.

Explaining further during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum earlier in the day, Romero said that this resolution stemmed from the International Olympic Committee's own resolution to have the Olympians inoculated.

"I think the IOC has come up with a policy that lahat ng magko-compete ngayon sa Tokyo Olympics should and would be vaccinated. I think that's the standard ngayon ng IOC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee sa 2021 Tokyo Olympics," he quipped.

Currently, four athletes, namely pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, have already booked their places in the Tokyo Olympics.

Obiena, Yulo, and Marcial are currently training overseas as the countries that they are in right now, Italy, Japan, and the United States, respectively, have begun their vaccination drives.

On the other hand, athletes from three combat sports, namely karatedo, boxing, and taekwondo, are doing their training camps inside a bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

Many see this incoming Olympic team as the most stacked yet and could possibly net the Philippines its first ever Olympic gold.

"We're hoping to get the gold. Sana itong Olympics na ito, ma-nail na natin yung gold na hinihintay natin for the last 120 years," Romero hopes.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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