TOKYO - Team Philippines dealt with its first Covid-19 crisis in the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, making the decision to send home a coach to mitigate the risk on all Filipino athletes and coaches staying in the Athletes Village.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino said the coach who he declined to identify tested positive in a routine saliva test he was made to undergo just days upon arrival .
Tolentino said coach also started manifesting symptoms after the positive test, prompting officials to make the decision to send him home even before the result of the final confirmatory test is released at noon on Thursday.
"We have to mitigate the risk on the entire delegation," said Tolentino after conferring with chef de mission Mariano 'Nonong' Araneta and the head of the national sports association involved on the decision.
Clueless on positive test
The result of the confirmatory test will now determine whether the coach will be put under quarantine by Tokyo organizers or on isolation before being sent home.
Tolentino and the rest of the delegation are clueless on where the coach possibly got infected since passed two RT-PCR tests from his point of origin as mandated by organizers, as well as the rigid screening at the Narita airport.
“The coach must have gotten it on the plane or at the airport, during the incubation period kaya hindi lumabas sa tests noong una,” said Tolentino.
The POC chief said the Covid scare underlines the danger facing the 81-strong Philippine delegation, which he said is facing a battle in two different fronts in its bid to bring glory to the country in the next fortnight.
"We're fighting two battles here," he said, "one against Covid and another against our opponents."
Still, Tolentino eased concerns about the possible impact of the decision on the morale of the entire delegation on the eve of the opening ceremony on Friday.
“Maybe, to the national sports association involved, apektado sila kasi nawalan sila ng coach, but to the rest of the Team Philippines, I don’t see their morale going down because of this," said the POC chief.
"Everyone is in high spirits and raring to go to battle for the country.”
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