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Ramirez: No Olympic cancellation yet but PH preparing for the worst

February 28, 2020 - Friday 8:02 AM by Daniel Joaquin

Article Banner Image PSC chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez speaks at the DSA Forum at the Annex of SM City Davao on February 27. Photo by Arjoy M. Ceniza

DAVAO CITY -- There has not been an official announcement by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) or International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the potential cancellation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez said they are “preparing for the worst.”

This was revealed by Ramirez at the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum at the Annex of SM City Davao on Thursday.

Despite being prepared for the worst, Ramirez added that the PSC is still hoping for the games to push through as it has spent P100 million for the training expenses of the country’s Olympic qualifiers such as Hidilyn Diaz, Carlos Yulo, and EJ Obiena.

Asked about the health risks faced by PH elite athletes training for the Olympics abroad, Ramirez said there is nothing to worry about since each athlete is accompanied by a team of at least six medical professionals assigned to keep them healthy prior to the games.

Diaz favored to win PH’s first Olympic gold

Most of the country is counting on 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz to win the country’s very first gold medal in the Olympics with the PSC head feeling confident of the weightlifter’s chances this year.

Aside from the additional training budget Diaz has received for this year’s Olympic games, her chances of winning a gold medal in Tokyo are boosted by the absence of Russian and Thai weightlifters.

Russia has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from international competitions for four years, which automatically disqualifies any of its athletes from competing in the Olympics. Thailand’s weightlifting team, on the other hand, is under a self-imposed ban also due to doping.

Chinese weightlifters, who are some of the best in the world, may also not be present at the games if the JOC and IOC decide not to include them in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Ramirez said.

However, now that the road to an Olympic gold medal has become easier due to certain circumstances, Ramirez highlighted that the satisfaction may not be the same as winning it with all contenders present.

Alongside Diaz in the race for the country’s first Olympic gold are gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena who were able to secure their respective Olympic berths after performing spectacularly in earlier international tournaments.