Philippine athletics to play catch-up with 2 national meets next year
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) – November 10, 2020 – 12:21pm
MANILA, Philippines – To make up for lost time following a long inactivity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association is holding not just one, but two National Open competitions next year.
PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico said the first national championship has been set from March 19 to 21 at the sprawling New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac while the other one is tentatively scheduled sometime in September or October at a still unidentified venue.
“We’ll hold another National Open in 2021 as part of foundation training,” said Juico during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum online. “Same as Tokyo Olympics, same cycle.
“We don’t want to lose the momentum we gained in the Southeast Asian Games,” he added.
In the first one, which will be done in partnership with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and pending the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force, Juico said they hope to come up with potential Olympic qualifier and join pole-vaulter EJ Obiena as well as gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno in Tokyo.
That is the reason PATAFA has a included a two-month training camp that would be done in a bubble setup in Capas starting January next year.
“We’re working hard to get as many Olympic qualifiers as we can,” said Juico.
The Capas bubble will comprise of around 20 national athletes, excluding Obiena, who is in Italy, the Fil-Ams Kristina Knott, Eric Cray, William Morrison and Natalie Uy, who are in the United States, and some members of the Armed Forces like hurdler Clinton Bautista.
Former Southeast Asian Games marathon gold medalist Mary Joy Tabal isn’t joining and will stay and continue to train in Cebu due to strict travel restrictions there.
The rest, including SEAG golden winners Melvin Calano, Christine Hallasgo, Sarah Dequinan, Eloiza Luzon and Anfernee Lopena, are joining.