Bubbles up for Games hopefuls
As the training bubble for Olympic hopefuls from taekwondo, boxing and karatedo inflates later this week in Laguna province, the national track and field team will commence its own quarantined workout in New Clark City.
Marathoner Christine Hallasgo, vying for a spot in the Tokyo Olympics, will travel from her hometown Bukidnon provnce to join 21 other national tracksters on Jan. 16 at the Capas, Tarlac facility that played host to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Participating in the bubble with SEA Games champion Hallasgo are fellow SEA Games gold medalists Aries Toledo (decathlon), Melvin Calano (javelin throw), Clinton Bautista (110-meter hurdles) and Sarah Dequinan, all of whom will be preparing for the National Open scheduled in March.
Twice shelved due to COVID-19, the Ayala Philippine Athletics Championships on March 19-21 at New Clark City Athletics Stadium will serve as an Olympic qualifying meet to the Tokyo Summer Games slated July 23-Aug. 8.
“If the National Open will be an Olympic qualifier, our national athletes have to be prepared and be given provision for that,’’ Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico said.
Pole vault ace EJ Obiena has already secured an Olympic berth while SEA Games champions Kristina Knott (200m), thrower William Morrison III, hurdler Eric Cray and Hallasgo are all looking to join him in Tokyo.
“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,’’ Juico said.
The former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair said Knott, Morrison and Cray are not obliged to show up at the Open and can find other qualifying meets in the United States where they are currently based.
Juico added they are finalizing the requirements of the national tracksters and their five coaches with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, which operates New Clark City, to enter the bubble.
Meanwhile, Olympic aspirants from karatedo, taekwondo and boxing will go inside their training bubble at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, on Jan. 9 with the karatekas staying there for a month before setting up camp in Turkey.
The PSC will take care of the needs of the athletes inside the bubble setup for three months where Olympic hopefuls from other sports are also bound to enter prior to their qualifying meets. INQ