Filipino wrestlers’ Olympic hopes in peril as pandemic persists

Filipino wrestlers' Olympic hopes in peril as pandemic persists

MANILA, Philippines – If the COVID-19 pandemic situation will not improve in the coming days and weeks, national wrestlers will have to kiss their Tokyo Olympic chances goodbye.

Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) secretary-general Marcus Valda yesterday said they are hoping Olympic hopefuls Alvin Lobrequito, Jiah Pingot, Jason Baucas and Noel Morada could start training soon if they want to have a have a decent shot at a Tokyo berth in the World Olympic Qualifier set May 6-9 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Already, WAP had already decided to cancel its participating in the Asian Championship slated April 9-11 in Almaty, Kazakhstan because its lone entry, Lobrequito, has yet to be granted a Detailed Service (DS) order from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We couldn’t get him at all because he’s in the front lines since last year being an enlisted military personnel,” said Valda referring to Lobrequito, a silver medal winner in the freestyle event in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Pampanga.

“We’re also not going to send anybody now. What if our wrestler gets locked down in another country? That would be a nightmare,” he added.

The National Capital Region (NCR) as well as Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Rizal were put under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the alarming spike of COVID-19 cases.

It resulted to Philippine sports being shut down again.

And if the lockdown continues up to April, it may force the Filipino Olympic hopefuls to just skip the Sofia, which will serve as the last doorway to the quadrennial games slated July 23 to August 8 tilt entirely.

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