Eumir Marcial replaces EJ Obiena as PH flag bearer for Tokyo Olympics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 15)— Boxer Eumir Marcial will replace pole vaulter EJ Obiena as one of the Philippines' flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics this month, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) announced on Thursday.

In a statement, POC President Bambol Tolentino said it would be "more convenient" for Marcial to carry the country's colors as he will be arriving in Japan this weekend.

"He [Marcial] has the most flexible schedule before and after the opening ceremony," Tolentino said.

The POC earlier said it would have to look for a replacement for Obiena, since new protocols state that flag bearers must be in Tokyo 48 hours before the sporting event commences on July 23. Obiena's flight was scheduled to arrive in Japan on the same day.

Marcial will carry the Philippine flag during the Olympics' opening ceremonies alongside judoka Kiyomi Watanabe. They form part of the country's 19-strong contingent for the summer games, which will run until August 8.