P150,000 monthly aid for tracksters
SOUTHEAST Asian Games champions Eric Cray, Archand Bagsit, Jesson Cid and Marestella Torres will lead a six-man elite team that will receive P150,000 each every month to support their training all the way to the Rio Olympics.
Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Juico said the four PH athletics stalwarts will be joined by 15-year-old Fil-Canadian Zion Corrales-Nelson and Cebuana marathoner Mary Joy Tabal in a program called “Adopt an Olympian” phase 2.
Juico said the rest of the national pool will receive the usual support they are getting and still has a chance to make it to the elite group being supported by a pool of private corporations led by businessman Jim Lafferty.
The athletes will undergo stringent training under coaches handpicked for them by a committee to be headed by Juico and Lafferty. The Task Force will report to the Patafa board.
Cray competes in 400-meter hurdles, Bagsit in 400m and 800m runs, Cid in decathlon, and Torres in long jump. Corrales-Nelson is a sprinter, while Tabal is the reigning Milo marathon champion.
Juico said he has set a talk with Fil-Canadian Corrales-Nelson’s grandmother regarding the program that would harness the 5-foot-6 runner’s potential.
“She can run 100 meters, 200m and 400m,” said Juico of Corrales-Nelson whose best times are 24.15 seconds in 200m, and 54.18 in 400m. The national record is 23.35 seconds in 200m and 54.75 seconds in 400m, both held by Lydia de Vega.
Tabal ruled the Milo event in two hours and 48 minutes last year.
“The project will prepare them for the 2016 Olympics and, for some, for 2020,” said Juico.
Lafferty said: “We will pick the best coaches, the best doctors, the best trainers and dietician for them.”
Cray, who reportedly holds two jobs back in the US, is already contemplating on relocating to the country to focus on his training.
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