POC, PSC leaders meet, discuss actual training

    The Tokyo Olympics is postponed until July 2021. (Photo by japantoday.com)

    PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission officer-in-charge Ramon Fernandez met yesterday to coordinate their efforts and enable local-based Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls in combat sports to resume actual training.

    Tolentino and POC secretary general Atty. Edwin Gastanes met with Fernandez, Commissioners Charles Maxey, Celia Kiram and Philippine Sports Institute director Marc Velasco in an online session to tackle the issue.

    Tolentino has been pushing for the resumption of the intensive training of Olympic-bound boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games hopefuls in karate, taekwondo and fencing.

    Fernandez earlier said he intends to open the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines gym at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex so that Marcial, Magno and other Olympic aspirants like 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Roger Ladon and Nesthy Petecio can resume regular workouts.

    The acting PSC chief added he is eyeing facilities within the Philsports Complex in Pasig City for other Olympic hopefuls in other sports, although the national fencing team already has its gym within its premises.

    Fernandez is hoping to provide a safe and secure environment for athletes at the Philsports complex, noting that PSC employees coming from high-risk COVID-19 areas in Makati and Mandaluyong were barred from entering the facility and advised to work from home.

    Fernandez and his wife Karla, who came from COVID-19 hotspot Cebu City last week, tested negative for the virus last Monday, after which the former conducted his first board meeting online with Maxey, Kiram and Atty. Arnold Agustin.

    He said that he would require athletes to undergo pre-testing before they can resume workouts and await further instructions from the Inter-Agency Task Force in charge of containing the pandemic “so we can proceed more effectively and efficiently.”

    Fernandez stressed the actions he will take will be based on recommendations of the technical working group from the Department of Health, PSC and Games and Amusements Board following IATF Resolution No. 51 that earlier allowed the resumption of training for pro players in basketball and football.

    Karate Pilipinas Sports Foundation Inc. president Ricky Lim and Philippine Taekwondo Association secretary general Rocky Samson said they are willing for their respective athletes to undergo full tests before they are allowed to practice.

    Gastanes said if these moves are successful “the next step of the POC is to push for the resumption of training of our national athletes in other sports, particularly those who might see action in the 31st SEA Games late next year.”

    Gastanes added that Tolentino is set to have a virtual meeting with the SEA Games Federation Council today that could determine the number of sports and events that will be played in the next edition of the regional meet in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

    The POC president is batting for the retention of some sports such as pentathlon, obstacle course racing and dance sport, which delivered heavily in the country’s successful quest to regain the SEA Games overall championship last December with a tally of 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals.