ANIM lamang mula sa 70-member Philippine delegation, sa pangunguna nina flag bearers Eumir Felix Marcial (boxing) at Kiyomi Watanabe (judo), ang sasama sa parada ng mga bansa sa opening ceremony ng Tokyo Olympics ngayong araw.
Nakatakda ang programa sa alas-8 ng gabi sa National Stadium, tampok ang 4,500 kalahok —mga atleta at opisyal — mula sa 205 member national Olympic committees.
Isusuot ni Marcial ang cocoon silk barongs na may machine-embroidered pitchera design muslin inner shirts at light wool black pants, habang si Watanabe ay nakasuot ng cocoon silk short blazers na may machine embroidered front at sleeves at neoprene spaghetti-strapped black inner blouses at neoprene black pants, na binili ng Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Idinagdag din sa kanilang parade uniforms ang Rajo Laurel-designed “alampay” (shawl) na mayroon ding native Filipino touch.
Samantala, dumating na kahapon sa Tokyo sina PSC Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez at Chief of Staff Marc Velasco para bigyang suporta ang 19 atleta na pambato ng bansa sa Summer Olympic Games.
Sinabi ni Ramirez, ang tanging chairman magmula nang itatag ang PSC noong 1990 na namuno sa sports agency sa tatlong Olympics (Beijing 2008, Rio de Janeiro 2016 at Tokyo 2020), na siya ang “humble representative of millions of Filipinos, who wish the athletes success.”
“The quadrennial meet will be under a very different circumstances, but know, that you, athletes, are not alone as millions of Filipinos back home will be glued to their screens, cheering and praying for you. Today, I am not just a sports official, I am a father, proud to see his children achieve and see that their dreams are within reach,” sabi ni Ramirez.
Sinuportahan ng PSC ang 19 Olympians sa bawat hakbang ng kanilang Olympic journey.
“We spent P2 billion for the training and exposure of our athlete since 2016 to form a strong team for Tokyo. Never in the history of our country has government been this supportive of the Filipino athlete, financially. Ngayon lang nangyari ito sa pamunuan ng ating Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” ani Ramirez.
Pinuri rin ng PSC chief ang Pinoy Olympians sa kanilang pagpupunyagi at pagtitiyaga sa panahon ng pandemya.
“Our athletes are a source of inspiration and pride. The chance to show the world your athletic excellence, a chance to make your Olympic dreams come true, at a time when sports competitions, training and qualifications, values and character were greatly challenged, a chance to show a global arena, what Filipino athletes are made of,” dagdag pa niya.
Bukod kina Marcial at Watanabe, sasabak din sa quadrennial meet sina Ernest John Obiena (athletics), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Irish Magno (boxing), Nesthy Petecio (boxing), Carlo Paalam (boxing), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting), Cris Nievarez (rowing), Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo), Margielyn Didal (skateboarding), Elreen Ando (weightlifting), Jayson Valdez (shooting), Juvic Pagunsan (golf), Kristina Knott (athletics), Yuka Saso (golf), Bianca Pagdanganan (golf), Luke Gebbie (swimming) at Remedy Rule (swimming).