Pinoys Check In At Village

LONDON - Archers Mark Javier and Rachel Cabral and judoka Tomihiko Hoshina blew into this city on a rainy, cold Friday morning, tired after a long trip as they joined seven of their nine teammates at the sprawling Athletes Village.

Accompanied by Japanese coach Yasuhiro Sato of judo and Korean mentor Chung jae-hun of archery, the three athletes settled down at their assigned rooms among the 2,818 townhouses in the 11-block village after going through the normal accreditation procedure in a breeze.

PH team chief of mission Manny Lopez exchanged pleasantries with the group for a few minutes before handling them the keys to their respective units in a high-rise block east of the Village, a short walk away from the Olympic Stadium.

On Thursday morning, long jumper Marestella Torres, long distance bet Rene Herera, shooter Brian Rosario, and swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi checked in after concluding their free three-week training camp ahead of the 30th Olympic Games at several training venues here.

Two others-boxer Mark Anthony Barriga and BMX rider Danny Caluag-are arriving on June 24, or three days before the world's biggest sporting spectacle opens in glittering rites.

"It was smooth. No problem at all as far as checking in in the village is concerned," said Lopez, adding the team is also free of health concerns at the moment.

So tired were Javier, Hoshina and Cabral that they fell asleep a few kilometers after leaving Heaththrow airport on board a bus that snaked through the Olympic lane past landmarks like the Trafalgar Square and long rows of famous boutiques.

" Very tired," said Hoshina in halting English, smiling as he carried a bag past polite and accomodating volunteers at the welcome area, the gateway to the vast Olympic Village.

The PH team also got a feel of the extra-tight security at the gates, something which a Papua New Guinea official described as tighter than the one done at the Pentagon or White House.

Hoshina couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a guard with a sniffer dog on lead went on board the bus, walking down and up the aisle.

Before noon, the three athletes and their coaches took their first meal at the dining hall, which is bigger than a football field and features cuisine fom each of the continents.

Then they spent the rest of the rainy day resting their tired bodies.


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