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Popoy: PH Open, weekly relays on tap

By Kristel Satumbaga





The Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) hopes to resume its grassroots and elite programs by August in a bid to send more athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics scheduled next year.



Part of the proposed plan is to carry on with the weekly relays aimed at monitoring athletes’ performances, as well as holding the annual National Open in December.

The National Open is a qualifier to the PH team.

Still, all these plans will depend on the recommendation and guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) assessing the country’s situation relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We will do what we can under the circumstances,” said PATAFA chief Philip Juico in Sunday night’s online press conference.

The pandemic altered the world’s normal interactions including in sports, where it froze almost all events for the year.

Despite the current global situation particularly in sports, Juico said most of their elite athletes have been training on their own to keep track on their goal of qualifying to the Games.

“Even those based abroad, they’re all training on their own,” he said, noting tracksters Eric Cray and Kristina Knott, shot putter William Morrison, and pole vaulter Natalie Uy.

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who has already qualified to the Olympics, is also back at a training facility in Italy.

At the moment, the IATF has only approved outdoor activities on golf, tennis, swimming, badminton, equestrian and skateboarding – sports requires limited close interaction.

But sports officials like Juico are hopeful more sports will be allowed in the future as restrictions are likely to be eased.

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, three Filipinos competed in the centerpiece sport: Cray in men’s 400-meter hurdles, Mary Joy Tabal in women’s marathon and Marestella Torres-Sunang in women’s long jump.



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