PH track open shelved for next year
For failing to secure the government go-ahead, the Olympic qualifier for track and field that the Philippines was supposed to host next month won’t push through as scheduled.
Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico on Wednesday said that the Philippine Athletics Championships, a qualifying event for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, will have to be moved to March next year—and that is if the event can finally get an approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“Our request for approval of holding the training of the entire national team in November and the championship in December have yet to be evaluated and assessed by the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and endorsed to the IATF,’’ Juico said.
The original plan, according to Juico, was to set up a camp for 21 homegrown Filipino athletes under Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) for two months in a training bubble before they see action in the national championship where Olympic spots are on offer.
The athletics association is eyeing New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac province, as the site of the training bubble and the national championship.
“We gave ourselves until Oct. 26 before we decided to reschedule. Our athletes are all over the country and it will require us complying with so many rules that are impossible within the time frame, even if the IATF approved our request [now],’’ said Juico, who is running for Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) 1st vice president in the POC elections on Nov. 27.
Among the tracksters who are seeking Olympic berths are sprinter Kristina Knott, hurdler Eric Cray, William Morrison (shot put), pole vaulter Natalie Rose Uy and marathoner Christine Hallasgo.
They’re all hoping to join men’s pole vault Asian champion Ernest John Obiena, the first Filipino to qualify for the July 23-Aug. 8, 2021 Tokyo Summer Games.
The Patafa will forge a partnership with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, which operates New Clark City (NCC), to secure the approval of the IATF for the March 19-21 event.
The training bubble is now tentatively set for Jan. 15-March 17 at NCC.