POC moving bets to less polluted areas
With air pollution in Metro Manila soaring to hazardous levels, the Philippine Olympic Committee is considering moving the national athletes to alternative training centers outside of the metropolis.
POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. discussed the pollution issue with Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, who readily admitted that conditions at Philsports in Pasig City and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila are no longer conducive for athletes.
“Sad to say, we will have to endure this kind of environment,” said Garcia. “We have nowhere to go. You cannot bring all of the athletes to Baguio City.”
Garcia said Cojuangco told him to pursue the training of athletes set to compete in Olympic qualifiers outside of Metro Manila.
“He plans to bring the athletes to Iloilo, Davao, Bacolod or wherever the environment is clean and the air is fresh,” said Garcia. “By doing it, we can give our athletes an equal chance against their opponents. Otherwise, expect the same results when we compete internationally.”
According to the PSC chief, a recent study made by the government cited that pollution in Metro Manila has far exceeded tolerable levels with Pasig City slightly more polluted than Manila.
During a recent check at Philsports, Garcia said that dirt and grime continue to settle in the swimming pool though maintenance personnel admitted cleaning the pool on a daily basis.
“Even if we provide proper nutrition and address the physical fitness of the athletes, their resistance will not be as good as the others under these conditions,” said Garcia.
He explained that majority of the medalists in the recent Singapore Southeast Asian Games trained in Baguio, particularly athletes from track and field and boxing.
“People have to realize that it would be difficult to compete with other countries that trained their athletes with complete facilities and away from pollution,” said Garcia.
The PSC will build a multipurpose gymnasium at the Teacher’s Camp in Baguio City to house other athletes aside from boxing and track and field. It plans to transfer most water sports in Subic.