‘Delicate balance’ needed for sports to resume, says Ramirez
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez has visited hospitals and underwent swab tests several times. That, according to him, helped make everything “feel normal,” despite being a 70-year-old in the age of coronavirus pandemic.
For the country’s top sports official, it’s easy to underestimate the severity of the global health crisis.
“There’s no right or wrong answer for that,” said Ramirez when asked if he’s in for full return of sports here in the Philippines during Tuesday’s PSA Forum online. “It’s a delicate balance.’
When athletes like EJ Obiena and Hidilyn Diaz competed in tournaments held under pandemic protocols, Ramirez said they magnified the importance of sports people’s lives.
“(Those achievements) make us feel proud and forget about our problems,” said Ramirez. “So for physical fitness and entertainment, sports is very significant in our lives.”
Ramirez ordered all PSC-organized competitions like Philippine National Games and Batang Pinoy to be suspended for this year.
“Fear and anxiety will make you think twice about going out there and playing,” said Ramirez.
So when it comes to which sports should be green-lighted first. he’s relying on the judgment of the IATF (inter-agency task force) of which the PSC is also a major part.
“There are sports that can be played like track and field, but combat sports it’s difficult to tell,” he added. “Volleyball and basketball, maybe they can practice.”
He said resuming the professional leagues like the PBA and the Philippine Superliga must be confined to television and online coverage, “if there’s audience maybe with proper distancing.”
“Protocol must be embedded in those sports, that’s why we have to adapt to the environment and NSAs (national sports associations) must shepherd their sports, it’s their responsibility,” he added. INQ
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