National cycling captain Hualda believes lockdown equalized field
Veteran cyclist Ronnel Hualda thinks the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could serve as a great equalizer for all riders bidding to reach the medal podium in the coming Southeast Asian Games.
And unless Filipino cyclists can find a stable training ground, the many-time national team rider feels that it would be a steep uphill climb to the summit of success in the Vietnam edition of the 11-nation sportsfest later this year.
“Right now, our movements have been limited mostly in indoor training,’’ said Hualda in Filipino, whose wife Ednalyn Hualda is the coach of the national team and Go For Gold continental cycling squad.
Instead, the national cyclists have to satisfy themselves by joining online races to keep themselves in the groove after several local and overseas road races have been scrapped due to COVID-19.
“These (road) races are important for the preparation of our national riders. Without them, we will have a difficult time in the SEA Games,’’ said Hualda.
Though the Nov. 21-Dec. 2 Hanoi SEAG is still several months away, the Go For Gold team skipper voiced out the need for a training venue where they can race freely and gauge their readiness for bigger races ahead.
Since several riders in the national team are detailed with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Hualda said it could take time before they can resume training.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino, the newly elected cycling chief in the country, recently announced his intention to stage the national championships for road, mountain bike and BMX in the coming months.
Tolentino pointed out that races could go on inside a bubble environment even without a vaccine.
He also anticipates a merger between the country’s top two road race organizers—Air21/Ube Media Inc., the force behind Le Tour de Filipinas, and LBC’s Ronda Pilipinas—in the conduct of road races this year.
Only Ronda Pilipinas was able to hold its races early last year before the country went into a series of lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19, terminating all competitive races in the process.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.