MANILA – Boxer Eumir Marcial will be the new male flag bearer for the Philippine team in the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies.
The boxer will replace pole vaulter EJ Obiena as one of two athletes who will carry the Philippine flag in the opening rites scheduled for July 23, the other being judoka Kiyomi Watanabe.
“[Marcial] has the most flexible schedule before and after the opening ceremony,” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino explained the change on Thursday.
In particular, the middleweight pug will be among the first Filipinos to arrive in Tokyo on Saturday from Denver and will not see action until July 25.
Watanabe’s schedule also happens to be flexible as she is currently based in Japan and will only debut on July 27.
Watanabe will be in the women’s under-63-kilogram judo event.
The POC initially announced Obiena as the male flag bearer for the Philippine team.
However, Obiena would only arrive in Tokyo just right before the opening ceremonies, not to mention that he has to undergo coronavirus disease 2019 protocols at the airport.
Boxing coach Nolito Velasco and judo president Dave Carter will join Marcial and Watanabe in the opening parade along with Chef De Mission Nonong Araneta, skateboarding coach Daniel Velasco, swimming president Lani Velasco, and gymnastics chief Cynthia Carrion-Norton. (PNA)