Date, venue of nat’l track Open set
There’s a compelling demand for the Philippine athletics team to return to the tracks prior to the country’s hosting of an Olympic qualifying meet early next year.
Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico said they have forged a partnership with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which will host the Ayala Philippine Athletics Championships in New Clark City on March 19 to 21.
And the only thing lacking for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics qualifier is the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“If the National Open will be an Olympic qualifier, our national athletes have to be prepared and be given provisions for that,’’ said Juico, president of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
The Patafa is likewise requesting the IATF to allow Filipino tracksters to train inside the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac, and stay inside the bubble two months ahead of the meet.
“Holding a two-month bubble training camp in New Clark City will benefit our athletes of the needed intensive high-performance training and, at the same time, provide them a safe venue to achieve that goal,’’ said Juico.
BCDA president and CEO Vince Dizon expressed his enthusiasm in the partnership with the Patafa after the NCC hosted the Southeast Asian Games last year.
“It is in New Clark City where we made history, where we won as one. Our athletics team bagged the most number of gold medals for the Philippines amongst any Olympic sports,’’ said Dizon.
The PH track and field squad amassed 11 gold medals on top of eight silver and eight bronze medals during the 11-nation sports fest.
“The Olympic qualifiers will be a great opportunity for them not just to relive those winning moments, but to show the sports community that we can restart safely,’’ said Dizon.
The National Open was already shelved twice this year due to the COVID-19 health scare. INQ