PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez last Tuesday placed the entire Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Philsports Complex in Pasig City on indefinite lockdown after one of its staff members tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
“May we humbly advise all concerned that the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila City and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City shall be on complete lockdown from August 12, 2020 until further notice,” Ramirez said in his advisory sent to all concerned National Sports Associations.
“This is part of the agency’s health security protocol after a staff tested COVID-19 positive in the recent round of RT-PCR testing,” Ramirez added.
The PSC staff member was not named in keeping with government regulations in safeguarding the privacy of those infected with the contagious and sometimes lethal virus.
Commissioner Ramon Fernandez yesterday confirmed the decision that could affect the training of national athletes in both the PSC-administered government sports facilities, especially the Olympic aspirants once the modified enhanced community quarantine over Metro Manila is lifted.
As approved by the PSC and Department of Health, the plan was for the Olympic hopefuls in combat sports such as taekwondo, fencing, karate, boxing and taekwondo to resume actual training once the National Capital Region reverts back to general community quarantine.
The MECQ over NCR is set to expire on Aug. 18, and government officials have been quoted several times that they are not keen on extending it any further due to the adverse effect on the national economy.
Fernandez said the earlier plan was to set up “bubbles” where the national athletes in karate, fencing and taekwondo could train at the Philsports complex while a similar set-up could be done at the Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines gym inside the RMSC.
Except for fencing, athletes in karate, taekwondo and boxing have not had sparring and have been content in conducting physical fitness and conditioning workouts online.
With the current lockdown on both the RMSC and Philsports facilities, the wait by the Olympic aspirants could take a while longer, not to mention other national athletes who train at both venues.
Gymnastics Association of the Philippines secretary general Bettina Pou expressed alarm over the development, noting that the national gymnasts have not had had any actual training since mid-March when the entire country was virtually locked down to limit the spread of the virus.
The GAP national gymnastics training center is within the RMSC premises.
“Our athletes are losing their morale and getting discouraged since they have not had actual workouts for several months,” noted Pou. “Things are looking bad for us if they cannot get back to the gym soon.”
Affected are the national athletes in men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, women’s rhythmic gymnastics and aerobics, according to Pou.