MANILA, Philippines–Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial is the country’s new flag bearer for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies at Japan’s National Stadium on July 23, replacing pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said Marcial became the wiser choice to carry the flag as the boxer will be arriving in Tokyo earlier than Obiena.
“He [Marcial] has the most flexible schedule before and after the opening ceremony,” said Tolentino. “We have already informed Eumir about his task and we are very thankful to EJ for understanding. He cannot rebook his flight anymore.”
Marcial took several flights from his training camp in Colorado Springs in the United States on Thursday and is expected to land in Tokyo on Saturday, six days before the opening ceremony.
Obiena, meanwhile, will arrive in Japan just mere hours before the opening event.
“Because of protocols, EJ should be expecting delays at the airport and that would make it impossible for him to catch the opening ceremony,” said Tolentino.
Marcial, who already turned professional in 2020, will join female judoka Kiyomi Watanabe as the country’s flag bearer in the parade.
Due to Tokyo’s strict health protocols only the flag bearers and six officials will represent the Philippines in the parade.
Joining Marcial and Watanabe are chef de mission Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, Philippine Judo Federation President Dave Carter, boxing coach Nolito Velasco, skateboarding coach Daniel Velasco, Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines head Carrion-Norton.
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