How do PH athletes prepare for the Vietnam SEA Games?

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Due to several factors that have derailed the training of Filipino athletes, the Philippines are setting themselves a modest goal when they battle at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in May.

Since dominating the SEA Games as hosts in 2019, the athletes have not had a normal training condition due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Worse, the Philippine Athletic Commission’s funding sources for national athletes have been affected by the lockdowns put in place by the government to combat the pandemic.

Against all odds, PH sepak takraw athletes aim for gold in Vietnam

Just two months before the Vietnam Games, national sports associations have to make do with whatever is available in their arsenal.

Most NSAs have turned to private donors to flesh out their training in a bubble configuration.

Remaining optimistic, Pilipinas Sepaktakraw leader Karen Tanchanco-Caballero has found a home in Bulacan Sports Complex in Malolos City, courtesy of Bulacan Governor Danie Fernando for their closed-course training. And against all odds, Caballero remained optimistic.

“My boys are back to the grind. And they are serious. Sabi ko gold, silver minimum. If I can show up for other sports and athletes, more so for my own athletic kids.

The Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas also spends on the training of its 11 athletes in La Trinidad, Benguet, hoping that it will achieve good results so that it can reimburse some of the expenses of the PSC.

Supported by corporate sponsors, the Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) will send its national male and female training squad overseas for training.

The PNVF named 40 volleyball athletes and 16 beach volleyball players in the national pool. There are 20 athletes each for men’s and women’s divisions for volleyball and eight equally for both genders for beach volleyball.

“It is unfortunate that our promising young players from the collegiate leagues could not join the pool, and the SEA Games for that matter, as their respective leagues resume their competitions before the Hanoi Games,” Suzara said, referring to the University Athletic Association. of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

PNVF president Ramon Suzara envisioned a national team made up of promising young players, but though the circumstances surrounding collegiate leagues being closed for two years blocked the federation’s goal.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham Bambol Tolentino has so far estimated that 656 athletes will compete in 39 of the 44 sports Vietnam has scheduled for its only second hosting of the Games since 2003.

“Comparing the numbers when we hosted the Games in 2019, we will have a delegation reduced by almost half compared to three years ago,” Tolentino said. “And a quick look at the numbers shows that we will struggle to repeat as overall champions.”

BATTLE TEAM

There were 1,115 Filipino athletes in 2019 – an automatic privilege enjoyed by host nations – and they won 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze for a guaranteed overall title.

“But we will have a combat team in Vietnam, putting aside the difficulties of training and competing or training overseas because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Tolentino said.

Filipino athletes will compete in diving, swimming, finswimming, archery, track and field, badminton, 3×3 and 5×5 basketball, billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, bowling, boxing, canoeing, chess, cycling, dancesport, esports, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics (artistic, aerobics and rhythmic), beach handball, judo, jiujitsu, karate, kickboxing, kurash, muaythai, pencak silat, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon/duathlon, volleyball, beach volleyball, vovinam, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.

With just two months to go, the Rizal Memorial Coliseum (RMC) and Ninoy Aquino Stadium (NAS) inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, which have been used as Covid-19 quarantine and testing areas since April 2020, are being prepared for the training of some athletes.

According to Ramon Fernandez, Chief of Mission for the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC) of the SEA Games, the two iconic sports facilities in the country will be two additional sites where national athletes can train and allowing the national sports agency to save funds for the rental of training venues.

Besides the NAS and RMSC, the PhilSports complex in Pasig City was also used as a Covid-19 facility and is now being used for training.

The national boxing team trained at the teachers’ camp while the national athletics team also had bubble-style training at the Baguio Athletic Bowl. Both teams are currently in Baguio City with the National Karatedo Team.

The national kickboxing team trains at Team Lakay Gym in La Trinidad, Benguet

The fencers are in Ormoc City while the rowers are in Leyte.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) held a qualifying tournament to form the national team while the Confederation of Billiard Sports of the Philippines released the roster of its eight-member team for the SEA Games, dominated by the world champions Carlo Biado and Rubilen Amit.

Although there is excitement as preparations for the SEA Games kick into high gear, PSC National Training Director Marc Velasco stressed that there is still a risk of Covid-19 infection. 19 despite low alert levels and the downward trend in Covid-19 cases.

Coaches and athletes must not let their guard down and continue to strictly adhere to Minimum Public Health Standards (MPHS) as senior PSC officials make the necessary preparations to secure and ensure the health and safety of national teams at facilities. managed by the government.

Humble Goal

“Can we defend the overall championship? A lot of things happened. Mahirap sagutin yan. Second, budget constraints will have a huge effect on our campaign,” Tolentino said.

“Kaya par rin i-defend pero uphill battle,” Tolentino said, adding that the host nation has removed more than 40 events where the Philippines won gold medals in 2019 and added more than 30 events where the hosts are favored to win this year.

The cycling chief said it could be a battle for second place overall between the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

“Yan ang maglalaban in two, three, four. I think Malaysia and Singapore kaya natin,” said Tolentino, who added that finishing fifth in the medal standings is a far-fetched idea.

“Malabo na siguro yan (fifth place) with what happened in 2019,” added the POC proxy, recalling the year the Philippines hosted the Games and won the overall title for the second time.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has funds of 121 million pesos allocated to the SEA Games. Originally, the budget was 200 million pesos, but so much money had already been spent on training before the pandemic started.

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