The Philippine Sports Commission has opened its facilities to a variety of sports in a bubble environment, thus kicking off the nation’s compressed buildup to the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
“We have already made a number of facilities available for our athletes to resume training. It will now depend on their respective sports associations to make the necessary arrangements with the PSC,” said PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, Team Philippines’ chef de mission to the Games.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino announced that 584 athletes and 161 coaches and officials will carry the national colors in the May 12-23 biennial meet in Hanoi, Vietnam with the possible participation of 80 more athletes still pending.
“We understand the situation because of the budgetary constraints in the PSC, so we have to employ belt-tightening measures as regards to officials and equipment,” said Tolentino, who arrived at the figures in a recent meeting with Fernandez and PSC officials.
Fernandez intimated that wushu could spearhead the first batch of sports set to enter the training bubble at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila as well as wrestling, judo, table tennis, billiards and taekwondo.
Fernandez added the Philsports Complex in Pasig City could house athletes from medal-rich swimming, track and field and fencing, while combat sports such as boxing, karate, muay and kickboxing are already confined in Baguio City and Benguet province.
“Priority will be given to athletes whose sports have their own facility inside the complex while other sports should coordinate quickly with PSC to secure their respective training venues,” said Fernandez.
Any delays from sports associations to book the available facilities inside Philsports and RMSC will undoubtedly shorten the training period of their athletes, given the necessary health and safety protocols set by Philippine Sports Institute.
There’s a pre-bubble entry preparation of two weeks where athletes and coaches should restrict their movements to essential travel 14 days before going inside and restricted interaction with unknown COVID-19 status individuals a week before stepping foot at the training facility.
Athletes and coaches are required to undergo an RT-PCR test seven days prior to entry and another test on the day they are due to go inside the bubble.
Outside of the 584-athlete delegation, Tolentino said 80 athletes from various sports are on appeal for inclusion in the delegation and could be allowed to participate should their sports associations shoulder their expenses during the 11-nation sportsfest.
The PH contingent will leave for Vietnam in two batches on May 6 and May 10 where Team Philippines competes in 39 of the 40 sports in the Hanoi program.
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