PSC seeks LGU support for national athletes’ SEA Games training
For Southeast Asian Games chef de mission Ramon Fernandez, the timing is perfect to prove that sports can unify a nation.
The commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission will pursue partnerships with local government units all over the country for them to embrace national athletes from various sports preparing for the coming 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Reason: The PSC finds it improbable to entertain multiple training bubbles for the 39 sports that will see action in the Games with the government agency’s limited finances.
“If we put all the athletes from the 39 sports in a bubble, it will be impossible for the PSC to accommodate all the expenses,’’ said Fernandez during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.
“So I’m appealing to our friends in the local government units to help our national athletes as they prepare to compete in the SEA Games. This is the time where teamwork is really needed,’’ added Fernandez, the head of the SEAG Task Force made up of top PSC and Philippine Olympic Committee officials.
As the sports-funding agency, the PSC has allotted P200 million for the SEA Games on Nov. 21-Dec. 2, half of which will be earmarked for the training of athletes.
Fernandez, however, explained that the allocated funds won’t be enough as evidenced by the bubble training of boxing, taekwondo and karatedo at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna where the PSC shelled out P21 million for 45 days.
“We are looking at a tripartite agreement with the LGUs and the NSAs (national sports associations). It’s just really a matter of getting together, coming out with a formula and working things out,’’ said Fernandez during the weekly forum backed by Smart/PLDT, Go For Gold, Pagcor, Amelie Hotel, Braska, Milo and San Miguel Corporation.
The basketball icon and four-time Philippine Basketball Association MVP suggested that the LGUs could take of the billeting of the athletes as well as food and local transportation together with the usage of the sports facilities.
Several sports have already partnered with a handful of LGUs, fencing (Ormoc City), archery (Dumaguete City), weightlifting (Zamboanga City, Cebu, Bohol), muay (Baguio City) and kickboxing (Benguet), among them.
A total of 626 athletes from 36 sports should go inside the training bubble at least three months prior to the SEA Games where Team Philippines is the defending overall champion.
“I’m hoping to meet with the POC leadership to fine-tune the details if it’s workable or not. There are a lot of very good world-class sports facilities all over the country that follow international standards,’’ said Fernandez.
“This is a test to prove that sports can be a unifying force,’’ added Fernandez.
Sports officials have decided to move the training of national athletes out of Metro Manila and adjacent provinces due to the unpredictable series of lockdowns brought about by the rising cases of COVID-19 in the area.
Among those mentioned as possible areas for training equipped with excellent facilities but have manageable COVID-19 cases are Ilocos, Bicol, Pangasinan and Boracay Island.
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