MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian Games-bound national athletes anticipating a return to training on April 15 will have to wait even longer.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino on Thursday said it is inevitable that the resumption of training will be moved to a later date due to the recent rise of the COVID-19 pandemic cases.
“I don’t think it will start on time because of the spike of COVID cases,” Tolentino told The STAR.
The Philippine Sports Commission had, in fact, sought the return of the Philsports Arena in Pasig City and the Rizal Memorial Complex in Manila, which were both used as quarantine facilities for a year now, to its supervision early this month with hopes of meeting its April 15 target.
But as of posting time, the government facilities have remained under the Inter-Agency Task Force's supervision and there were reports it will be used as COVID testing and vaccination sites.
The country’s participation in the biennial meet set November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam is also in peril because of the alarming development.
“Personally, that’s really an option,” said SEAG chef-de-mission and PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez.
Meanwhile, Tolentino said Thursday’s successful Tokyo Olympics torch relay in Fukushima, Japan was a good indicator that the Summer Games will push through as scheduled from July 23 to August 8.
“Definitely, tuloy na talaga kasi yan ang mga (it will really push through because it was just one) among the first activities,” said the Tagaytay Congressman and PhilCycling chief.
Tolentino said the quadrennial games happening would increase the country’s chances of snaring its first Olympic gold medal.
To date, the country has six qualifiers — gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena and pugs Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam.
“God-willing, matuloy na nga sana, baka it na chance natin (it hopefully pushes through because this might be our chance) for the gold medal,” he said.
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