SEA Games training nod now underway

A waiting game ensues as to when the national athletes can finally begin their training for the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games set to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 this year.

But Philippine Sports Institute national training director Marc Velasco said it is being worked upon now.

“The process is that we have to get the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) clearance for that. I think the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) and the chef de mission, Sir Mon (Fernandez), are working on the IATF go signal,” Velasco said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

Velasco said a buildup for a certain major event usually takes up to 21 weeks or about five months.

“We have different phases. If you’re preparing for a big event, a full phase usually takes 4-6 weeks, and one major event can take up to three cycles. There’s a rest in between,” he said as he broke down how the preparation takes place.

However, due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic which postponed or prompted them to beg off from some potential tune-up events overseas, Velasco expects the SEA Games buildup to be longer.

“Wala tayong (We do not have) international exposure,” he said.

Velasco also said the SEA Games training is still subject to changes depending on the Covid-19 situation.

“We can sit down with the POC and the chef de mission and really have a consensus and plan out kung ano yung magandang (on what is the optimal) timetable for the SEA Games,” he added.

Currently, the IATF has allowed national athletes from four sports to train inside the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba for various international competitions.

The men’s basketball team is currently building up for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers February window in Angeles, while the karatedo, taekwondo, and boxing teams are gearing for their Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.

A training bubble is also being eyed for fencing in Ormoc ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

“Mag-go-go po yung fencing (Fencing is pushing through), and we are actually working with the [Philippine] Fencing Association (PFA) and the city government of Ormoc in terms of their protocols in place,” Velasco said.

The settling of the fencing bubble is expected to be smooth since fencing chief Richard Gomez is also the Ormoc mayor.

As to the other athletes eyeing Olympic spots, Velasco said, “Kailangang i-settle muna natin (We need to settle it first). Once we get the IATF clearance, then we will work with the other NSA’s (national sports associations) on how they can conduct their own training.”

Source: Philippines News agency

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