National tracksters train in own bubble
Decathlete Aries Toledo and heptathlete Sarah Dequinan are just thrilled to jump back into their usual strenuous routines after almost a year of waiting on the sidelines.
The two most durable athletes of the Southeast Asian Games last year will enter a training bubble along with their fellow national tracksters to be facilitated by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) two months from now.“It’s difficult to train when you don’t have access to equipment. I just try to be creative to keep myself in shape,” Dequinan said in Filipino, the heptathlon gold medalist of the 30th SEA Games held in New Clark City in Tarlac province.
At least 21 athletes from track and field will be confined in the bubble for one month beginning on Nov. 1 at La Salle Canlubang with 10 of their coaches from the national squad in preparation for the Philippine Athletics Championships scheduled on Dec. 4-6.“I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a while since I trained with the team,” said Toledo, who retained his decathlon gold at the SEA Games.The Philippine Athletics Championships, which will be held either at New Clark City or at Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus, Cavite province, is a track and field national open that will serve as a qualifying meet for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Patafa president Philip Ella Juico said Patafa would shoulder most of the expenses with the help of some sponsors and would likewise ask for some support from the Philippine Sports Commission.“We are just contributing to the reduction of our government’s burden and getting our athletes into some kind of decent shape. We also want our athletes to continue to have hope and faith in the system,” Juico said.
He explained that athletes and coaches would undergo mandatory swab testing for the COVID-19 before they enter the bubble.
“Once you are there, you stay there. You cannot go out. If you go out, it’s going to be very difficult to come back,” Juico said.
Expected to join Toledo and Dequinan inside the bubble are fellow SEA Games gold medalists Melvin Calano (men’s javelin), Clinton Bautista (110-meter hurdles) and marathoner Christine Hallasgo. INQ
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