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TOKYO Olympics-linked rower Cris Nievarez led early athletes and coaches who received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Friday at the Prince Hotel vaccination center in Malate, Manila.

“I can now train with protection and more confidence,” said Nievarez, 21, whose coach Edgardo Maerina has also been vaccinated. “I did not hesitate to get vaccinated because I think it is for my safety and that of everyone.

A total of 730 athletes and para-athletes and coaches have signed up for the vaccination campaign sought by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), approved by the Interagency Working Group on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and in cooperation with the city of Manila.

By noon, nearly half of those registered had been vaccinated with Sinovac vaccines. They will receive their second dose after 28 days.

“We are very grateful to the national government for allowing our national athletes to be vaccinated,” said POC President Representative Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “It’s a sigh of relief for all of us.

The government’s response to Tolentino’s call to prioritize athletes for vaccination has been swift. He wrote to the IATF through Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday last week and exactly one week after that just last Tuesday, the IATF gave its approval and scheduled the mass inoculation on Friday.

On Friday, the Malate hotel was a host of immunization activities.

The athletes leaving for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi which take place in November have followed one another. Those who practice canoeing, badminton, shooting, golf, sepak takraw, triathlon, athletics, swimming with fins, skateboarding, handball, tennis, cycling, shooting. bow and rowing got their strokes before noon.

In the afternoon, it was the turn of the athletes in pencak silat, muay, judo, bodybuilding, wrestling, eSport, fencing, chess, billiards, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, table tennis, wushu, bowling, dance, gymnastics, karate, kurash and para athletes.

Members of the Gilas Cadet Program men’s basketball team traveled from their training camp to Calamba to also get their shots.

The vaccinations were rapid and systematic, proof that the city of Manila has mastered the procedure.

Taekwondo-trained Kurt Bryan Barbosa did not receive his first dose as he was still finishing his quarantine at a Taguig City hotel.

Covid-19 testing czar Vince Dizon and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno graced the debates, as well as Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Charles Maxey and Gymnastics Association chief Cynthia Carrion-Norton.

“We thank the City of Manila, Mayor Isko [Moreno], for allowing us to use the Manila Prince Hotel [under Manila’s Barangay 719] for the inoculation of our national athletes, ”said Dizon at the well-attended press conference.

Carrion-Norton told the press conference that Olympic gymnast Carlos Yulo would not be vaccinated with a Covid-19 vaccine.

But Tolentino was unfazed.

“As long as his performance at the Olympics is not affected and he can win the gold medal, that’s not a problem,” said Tolentino.

Jaja Santiago and members of the women’s national volleyball team – all dressed in red or blue training suits similar to PPE – also received their first dose of the vaccine.

Formal face-to-face training for the SEA Games, where Vietnam will apply a “no vaccine, no participation” policy, is expected to be in full swing on July 1.

The Olympics run from July 23 to August 8, while the SEA Games run from November 21 to December 2.

Image courtesy of Roy Domingo



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