PH TRACKSTERS BALIK SA TRAINING

MATAPOS ang 18 buwan na walang training, nangangamba si Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association training director Renato Unso na mahaharap ang mga locally based national athletes sa mabigat na hamon na maduplika ang matagumpay na kampanya sa 30th Philippines Southeast Asian Games sa kanilang pagsabak sa 31st Vietnam SEA Games sa Mayo ng susunod na taon.

“If you were to ask me personally, it would be hard to match our performance in the SEA Games two years ago,” wika ni Unso patungkol sa 11 gold, 8 silver at 8 bronze medals ng mga Pinoy, na tumapos sa third overall sa walong bansa na sumabak sa sport.

Pito sa homegrown athletes ang responsable para sa  6 mints, kabilang sina Clinton Bautista sa men’s 110-meter hurdles, decathlete Aries Toledo, javelin thrower Melvin Calano, heptathlete Sarah Dequinan, at  marathoner Christine Hallasgo.

Sinamahan din nina sprinters Anfernee Lopena at Eloiza Luzon sina US-based Filipinos Eric Cray at Kristina Knott sa pagdomina sa  4×100-meter mixed relay race sa SEA Games trackfest na idinaos sa New Clark City Athletic Stadium sa Capas, Tarlac.

“Kasi noon tuloy-tuloy ang training. Eh ngayon nagsisimula pa lang tayo. ’Yong Vietnam matagal na nag-umpisa ’yon. Thailand ganoon din, even Indonesia,” sabi ni Unso.

Ang mga atleta ay walang actual workouts magmula pa noong March 2020 nang mahinto ang lahat ng  sports activities dahil sa pagkalat ng COVID-19.

Tinangka ni PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico na ipagpatuloy ang actual training para sa national athletes noong pang October 2020 subalit hindi ito pinayagan ng Inter-Agency Task Force.

Ayon kay Australia-based coach Andrew Pyrie, dating Philippine Sports Commission statistician na nagpapatakbo ng pinoyathletics.info website, ang Indonesia ay nagsasagawa ng sarili nilang National Games.

Sinusugan ni Juico ang sentimyento ni Unso at sinabing: “I honestly don’t know if we can match our strong SEA Games performance in 2019 until we see how our athletes are doing during training.”

Sinabi ni Unso na ito ang dahilan kung kaya mahalaga ang pagpapatuloy ng training ng national team sa Baguio City ngayong linggo sa pagsukat sa actual fitness at  conditioning ng local athletes matapos ang mahabang pahinga.

“With the approval of the Baguio City government led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and funding from the Philippine Sports Commission, the 36 athletes and 11 coaches will begin moving to their training camp in the country’s summer capital starting on Sunday on a staggered basis,” aniya.

“All of the athletes and coaches who will join training camps will be swabbed for COVID-19 before entering the training bubble and those who test positive will be unable to join us.”

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