Fernandez wants to know role in SEAG buildup

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    NATIONAL team chief of mission Ramon Fernandez will meet with Philippine Olympic Committee President and Rep. Bambol Tolentino this Friday regarding his role for the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games in November.

    Fernandez, a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, said he would like to know the possible number of athletes will field in the biennial regional games set Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

    Also expected to be discussed during the dialogue is when national athletes could resume actual training since majority of them had not gone back to the gym after the country was locked down in mid-March of last year to stem the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

    Only the country’s Olympic hopefuls in the combat sports of boxing, karate and taekwondo have been allowed to resume workouts at the Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna in the last two weeks by the PSC under the conditions of the Joint Administrative Order issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force in charge of the virus crisis in July last year.

    From an all-time high of 56 sports in the 30th Philippine Southeast Asian Games in December 2019, Vietnamese organizers pruned down the calendar of disciplines to 40, leaving out those where they are weak while including those they are likely to strike gold such as fin swimming.

    Fernandez said his talk with Tolentino will also determine how much the PSC will allot for the country’s training and participation in the 11-nation games.

    The cash-strapped PSC has been trying to make ends meet since the remittances of the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. to its National Sports Development Fund were greatly reduced due to the pandemic.

    Gambling operations resumed in the last quarter of 2020 but the remittances remain lower than what the PSC used to enjoy in the previous years, according to Fernandez.