National athletes train in Ilocos Norte’s ‘sports bubbles’
LAOAG CITY –– Some ‘sports bubbles’ have been mounted in Ilocos Norte after Filipino athletes of national associations pushed to train in the province this May to prepare for their upcoming international tilts, officials said on Tuesday.
The national beach volleyball team had set up a training bubble on May 19 in the coastal town of Pagudpud, some 500 kilometers from Metro Manila, said Helen Domingo, provincial sports development officer, in a statement.
The men’s and women’s pool had 10 members each, who joined the sports bubble in the town to prepare for the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November, and the Asian Volleyball Confederation Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, an Olympic qualification tournament, in June.
Domingo said the national sepak takraw team will also train at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City until November 15 for the SEA Games, while the national beach handball team will follow suit.
Ilocos Norte is on modified general community quarantine, the least stringent quarantine classification in the country.
Domingo said the province is being promoted to become “one of the safest training hubs in the country.”
In April, the Philippine Sports Commission backed the partnership among national sports associations with “local government units which are willing to adopt [national] teams to train in their areas.”
Domingo said the provincial health task force had crafted a “risk assessment management” to ensure a “safe place” for the athletes while they are under the sports bubbles in the province.
The Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) sister teams, Meralco Bolts, and TNT Tropang Giga, have also mounted their training bubbles in Ilocos Norte this May, according to the provincial government.
Both teams are preparing for the PBA’s 46th season, which is set tentatively in June.