MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) emphasized that the country's Olympic qualifiers need to resume their training during a virtual meeting with other stakeholders hosted by the Department of Health last week.
PSC officer-in-charge Ramon Fernandez and National Training Director Marc Velasco represented the sports agency in the discussion for the Joint Administrative Order Guidelines on the Conduct of Health-Enhancing Physical Activities and Sports during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Also present in the meeting were Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham Mitra and sports leaders of the Department of Education, professional sports leagues, colleges, and universities.
In the meeting, Fernandez and Velasco unveiled their plans on how the Tokyo-bound athletes can resume their training safely.
"We are working towards the approval of the training of our national athletes who have earned their slots in the Games," said Fernandez "We are hoping it gets the go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) first."
"The PSC discussed this with the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee). We still have to sit down with the PPC (Philippine Paralympic Committee)," Velasco explained.
So far, four Filipinos have qualified for next year's Tokyo Olympics -- gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole-vaulter OJ Obiena, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno.
Of the four, only Marcial and Magno are in the Philippines. Yulo remains in Japan, while Obiena has been training in Italy.
Several other athletes are still in the running for Tokyo, including weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz who has been training in Malaysia.
"The POC will determine through their NSAs (National Sports Associations) who are coming for the Olympic slots, and they will be the ones to return first. If possible, we can have them in a bubble," Velasco added.
The PSC is working with the POC, the NSAs, and the team of Dr. Randy Molo of the PSC's Medical Scientific Athlete Services (MSAS) in crafting guidelines and protocols for athletes' return to training. The agency is also preparing the various venues that are expected to be used.
The meeting held last week was meant to prepare and check with stakeholders, ensuring that they cover all required public health standards for physical and sporting activities, and allowable thresholds for professional and non-professional sports per risk severity area.
The guidelines are still under discussion and subject to necessary changes before it is submitted to the IATF.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).