Athletics bares protocol for ‘new normal’ 

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    DEPENDING on their area of origin athletes and coaches in the national track and field pool will be required to submit quarantine passes before they can resume training together at a designated venue approved by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association that has met government quarantine guidelines.

    Barred from group training are athletes and coaches who have gone out of the country 14 days before the training date, while enlisted personnel will also be required to secure military passes before they can join the workouts.

    These and other guidelines for the “new normal” were drafted by the PATAFA, led by its president Philip Ella Juico, and will be submitted to the Philippine Sports Commission within this week for screening and approval by the Inter-Agency Task Force  overseeing the virus crisis.

    A copy of the PATAFA quarantine protocols were furnished Malaya-Business Insight by the country’s track body over the weekend in an e-mail following a video conference presided over by Juico, who announced their events for the rest of the year once given the go-signal by the government.

    “Hopefully, we will allowed by the government to resume our activities once these quarantine protocols are approved sometime in July or August,” Juico said.

    Athletes and coaches who are coming from areas that are under general community quarantine will also be demanded a quarantine pass from their respective barangays, based on the protocols.

    At the training venue, strict social distancing will be enforced while runners will race in separate lanes to avoid mingling and running into each other, while field athletes such as jumpers and throwers must practice one at a time before returning to their respective “neutral” or safe places.

    Coaches and trainers must also maintain social distancing while maintaining a two- to three-meter gap between their designated athletes. Instructions will be done individually and they must discuss among themselves what will take place during the workouts ahead of time.

    At the training site, coaches must wear face masks at all times while athletes can take them off while going through their workouts and wear them anew once they are done. Only national athletes and coaches will be allowed at the venue during the training period.

    Disinfectants, thermal scanning as well other individual health and safety gear such as tissues and towels will also be required of all the training participants, who must exit the venue individually and immediately once the workouts are over. PATAFA also discourages the use of restrooms while working out as well as group shots.

    In the event the government allows competitions to resume, the local track body also set down rules on how to conduct them.

    Participants will be required to validate their respective entries two to five days before the events and will also be asked to present a medical certificate that they have not shown symptoms of COVID-19 at least 21 days before the competition or contact with any individual who had tested positive for the virus.

    Participating athletes are barred from physical contact with others at the warm-up venue, picture-taking, spitting and blowing noses. They will also have to wear face shields at the warm-up and call areas, up to the starting line before they can race.

    For field events, throwers and jumpers must wear face shields and separated by at least two meters until they see action.  All athletes must enter restrooms one at a time should there be an absence of individual toilet facilities.

    Technical officials are required to wear face shields, masks and gloves on the field of play at all times, with group shots allowed if they avoid physical contact.

    Winners will be announced and acknowledged but will not be handed their medals by officials as has been the custom, and will get them instead at a designated area once the presentation is over.

    Spectators will be also required to undergo thermal scanning, wear face masks and shields and separated at least two meters apart from each other.

    Once given the okay, Juico said the health and safety measures will be strictly enforced in all the PATAFA-sanctioned events, including the National Open Track and Field Championships rescheduled for mid-December at the Philsports Complex track oval in Pasig City.