Patafa national championship in Baguio
Reigning Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) marathon queen Christine Hallasgo will be running a shorter distance when she competes in the Philippine Athletics Championships that will take place on Dec. 16 and 17 at Baguio Athletic Bowl.
The development is a reflection of the event’s milieu—a pandemic that had previously frozen all sporting activities in the country.
“It’s our first national championships in two years,” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico, who referenced the COVID-19 pandemic that limited the federation’s movements.
“But it’s not the first event we’re staging during the pandemic. We at Patafa held virtual races and seminars for coaches and trainers,” Juico added during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.
And as Patafa marks its return under the national spotlight, the health crisis continues to make its presence felt with marathon stripped off the calendar because, Juico said, of protocols that govern the event.
More than ready
Hallasgo, however, is more than ready as she banners the field in the women’s 10,000-meter run.
“We have been training here in Baguio since last October. And in two months we have seen the improvement,” said Hallasgo.
Close to 300 track athletes from around the country will compete in the event, which the national athletics federation planned for while the pandemic kept sports locked down.
“We were doing things during the pandemic. We did a lot of planning. We did not fall asleep,” Juico said.
Track coach Jeffrey Chua said the athletes, including the 40 members of the national pool, are excited for the event.
“Even in training, they are always on the go. We’re very happy that participants from all regions in the country are coming to Baguio,” he said.
Juico said 18 gold medals each will be disputed in the men’s and women’s sides, as the event kicks off preparations for the Hanoi SEA Games in May and the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
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