PH athletics training bubble delayed

Beatrice Go
PH athletics training bubble delayed

STRONGEST MAN. Nueva Ecija native Aries Toledo hopes to retain his title as Southeast Asia's 'strongest man'.

Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

PATAFA president Philip Juico hopes the country's athletics team can get back on track immediately

The country’s national athletics team will have to wait a little longer before finally returning to training.

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip “Ella” Juico revealed to reporters that the team’s entry to the training bubble at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac will be delayed to the first week of February due to heightened concerns over the new virus strain.

“Because of so many documentary requirements that emerged, and now we have to exert extra caution with the new variant, there were additional documents and additional costs,” said Juico in the PATAFA virtual half marathon challenge press conference on Thursday, January 21.

According to Juico, the 40 athletes and coaches who will participate in the bubble have to be swabbed 7 times throughout the two months of training.

Though PATAFA was promised that the bubble will open on Monday, January 25 – already pushed back from the original January 18 plan – Juico felt the local federation would realistically complete the requirements by the first week of February.

But the national open, which will serve as an Olympic qualifier, is set to push through from March 26 to 28 at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium, where the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games events were staged.

While Tokyo Olympics qualifier EJ Obiena and Philippine athletics’ top Olympic hopefuls Eric Cray, Kristina Knott, William Morrison, and Natalie Uy are training abroad, Juico hopes the bubble will be able to ramp up the locally-based athletes’ 2021 SEA Games bid.

Though the athletes continued with online training and conditioning, the PATAFA president lamented his concern over the team’s lack of training on the field.

Southeast Asia’s “strongest man” Aries Toledo aims to retain his title and score his third straight gold in the upcoming regional biennial meet in Vietnam.

SEA Games women’s marathon gold medalist Christine Hallasgo, who topped Olympian Mary Joy Tabal, hopes to get back on track as well.

Philippine athletics bounced back from its 2017 haul of 5 golds, as the centerpiece sport clinched 11 gold medals in the country’s hosting of the 2019 SEA Games. –

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.