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Obiena, Diaz ready to wait for another year

BY KRISTEL SATUMBAGA & WAYLON GALVEZ

 

 

 

EJ Obiena

EJ Obiena

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena on Wednesday accepted the decision to reschedule the Tokyo Games to next year, saying it’s good for everybody, especially for the athletes.

Officials of both the Japanese Organizing Committee and International Olympic Committee on Tuesday agreed to postpone the quadrennial event due to health scare brought about by the coronavirus pandemic that restricted the training of qualified and still-to-be qualified athletes.

Obiena said he has no other course but to be ready when the Games is held next year.

“I need to continue to grow as an athlete,” said the 24-year-old national record holder.

“I’m waiting for a lot of changing variables, but at the moment, I’m staying here.”

Obiena has been training in Formia, Italy for the past year for his debut appearance at the Games.

Obiena believes that “things (COVID-19) are currently bigger than sports.”

Meanwhile, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz said she’s a bit sad but it was the right thing to do as the world is dealing with a pandemic Covid-19.

“I’m sad pero ayoko maging selfish,” said Diaz, who is still in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

HIDILYN Diaz

HIDILYN Diaz

“Ang pinagusapan na kasi dito is safety na naming mga athletes and spectators,” Diaz said. “Kung magkita kita sa Olympics tapos ma-infect pa, mas lalong maging malala.”

“Puwede naman maghintay and magre-strategize na lang kami ulit,” added Diaz, who continues with her training in KL even as Malaysia is likewise on a lockdown for health measures.

Diaz won silver medal during the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016 as she placed second in the 53kg women’s division. Now, she is hoping to qualify in Tokyo as she ranks fifth in the 55kg women’s category.

The 28-year-old Diaz said that a year of waiting for the Olympics is a bit long but being an athlete who is used to sacrifices, this is just a small price to pay to help in the efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

“Medyo matagal-tagal na paghihintay at sakripisyo pero nandito na ko, malapit na. Kailangan lang ng pasensya,” said Diaz.

“With the virus, I don’t know what to say. Siguro kapag may solution na ang problema at may vaccine na baka maging kampante na ako or tayo. Nagcreate siya ng fear at trauma sating lahat. I’m praying na matatapos din ito at marami tayong natutunan sa virus na ito.”

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