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2020 Tokyo Olympics

PATAFA takes extra precaution as two pole-vaulters test positive


TOKYO — The team leader of the athletics delegation in the Tokyo Olympics has added several extra precautions for pole vaulter EJ Obiena on Thursday after two of his rivals — including world No. 2 Sam Kendricks of the United States — tested positive for COVID-19.

Terry Capistrano — the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) secretary-general, who heads the two-athlete delegation — is not leaving anything to chance when it comes to the safety of the athletes, particularly Obiena. After all, his were struck off at the start list because of the positive tests.

Also out of contention is German Chiaraviglio of Argentina.

“We’re taking a lot of extra precautions now,” Capistrano said. “We’re bringing our own alcohol to Edogawa Stadium, where EJ practices, and we are the ones who wipe down whatever surfaces he will be in contact with. We can never be too careful anymore.”

Capistrano has also commissioned a van to bring the team to practice. He said he will no longer allow Obiena to ride the athletes’ bus or any Olympic-accredited taxis anymore.

The team, which includes sprinter Kristina Knott, earlier decided to stay at Conrad Hotel instead of transferring to the Athletes’ Village. That may have saved the athletes from potential contamination.

“We’re lucky we decided to stay here.”

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