FILIPINO athletes and coaches who are slated to compete in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam later this year have to be vaccinated or else, they won’t be allowed to participate in the event.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino made the development known after an online meeting with SEA Games Federation on Tuesday.
Tolentino shared that event organizers gave the assurance that the biennial sporting meet would push through on November 21 to December 2 but added that they are putting an emphasis on the “no vaccine, no play” policy.
“Their policy is for the good of everyone,” said Tolentino, who wrote the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to prioritize the inoculation of SEA Games-bound delegates, especially athletes and coaches.
“Most of the athletes from our Southeast Asian counterparts are already vaccinated and we’re the only country that is left behind,” Tolentino added. “But we already wrote the IATF to prioritize the SEA Games-bound delegates. We’re ready to take any vaccine.”
A total of 626 athletes are slated to be sent to the SEA Games where they would compete in 39 events. Tolentino shared that national sports organizations have already been tasked with identifying athletes who will be given priority when it comes to getting the vaccine.
“Before we fly to Vietnam, everyone should be vaccinated,” Tolentino said. “Or better yet, before the NSAs start training their athletes face-to-face.”
Tolentino said the POC has a $40,000 (P1.9 million) grant from the Olympic Council of Asia that would be used to purchase the vaccines.
POC first vice president Al Panlilio, who tasked to purchase the vaccines, assured that the entire delegation would be inoculated as soon as the vaccines are available.
Only Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes Eumir Felix Marcial and Hidilyn Diaz have already been vaccinated. (JNP)