UNABLE to use its training center inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, which remains a COVID-19 facility, the Gymnastics Association Philippines has found an alternative site at one of the huge function rooms of the Green Sun Hotel in Makati for all of its five disciplines.
GAP president Cynthia Carrion said the high-ceiling, 1,000 square-meter area on the hotel’s third floor will be used by national athletes in men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, aerobics and trampoline.
“With the help of the Philippine Sports Commission, we were able to negotiate a good rate with the hotel so our national athletes can finally train there in the second week of January,” said Carrion, adding that she expects them to move into the facility by the second week of the month.
“We would like to thank PSC chairman Butch Ramirez for approving our request since our athletes need to resume training after being inactive for more than nine months now.”
She said they have asked permission from the government sports agency to transfer some of the GAP equipment at the national training center to the hotel while some of the gear at the Colegio San Agustin gym, which was used by the national men’s gymnastics team, was also being shifted to the Green Sun Hotel.
Bannered by world floor exercise champion Carlos Edriel Yulo, national gymnasts bagged three gold, five silver and four bronze medals and finished third overall out of six countries in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gymnastics competition held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Aside from Yulo, who bagged two gold and five silver medals and emerged as the most bemedalled Pinoy campaigner in the SEA Games, cancer survivor Daniela Reggie dela Pisa accounted for the other mint, ruling the women’s hoop event of rhythmic gymnastics.
Carrion cited the need to return the gym “since Vietnam has also included six events in aerobic gymnastics and we have shown ourselves to be strong in this discipline while we are hoping for our men’s artistic gymnastics team to fight for gold as well.”
The 2021 edition of the SEA Games could also mark the comeback of Fil-Am Caitlin de Guzman, who copped the women’s uneven bar gold in the 2017 Malaysia Games but was sidelined from competing in front of hometown fans due to injuries.
Dela Pisa and national teammate Brenna Labadan loom as gold prospects in rhythmic gymnastics after they performed well in last month’s Santa Cup in Budapest, Hungary.
Dela Pisa took the mints in the hoops and clubs while Labadan topped the balls event while securing a pair of silvers in the ribbon and all-around, respectively.
Both rhythmic gymnasts are trained by former Hungarian national team standout and coach Dora Vass.
While Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya, who also handles the national men’s artistic squad, remains with Olympic-bound Yulo in Tokyo, Carrion disclosed that the PSC hired two more foreign coaches who would prep the Nationals for the Vietnam games.