COVID-19 pandemic wipes out international trips of PH water polo team

Published July 8, 2020, 2:56 PM

by Waylon Galvez

ph water polo team
In this file photo, the Philippine water polo team celebrates after a draw with Singapore to earn a sure silver medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Aquatic Center in Tarlac. (MB File Photo / Mark Balmores)

A training camp in Japan and an international meet at the Czech Republic did not materialize for the water polo national team as countries continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Veteran player Roy Cañete said the team was supposed to have a training camp in Kashiwazaki in Niigata, Japan last June in preparation for an invitational meet in Europe this month.

 “Sayang hindi natuloy kasi nga problema pa din talaga ang COVID-19, hindi lang naman dito sa atin, maging sa ibang bansa… buong mundo. Nakakalungkot pero ‘yun talaga,” said Cañete.

The national team had a productive training camp in Japan last October, which resulted in a silver medal finish in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games here last year – the first podium finish for the Filipinos in 10 years.

Following the successful SEAG campaign, national team coaches Rey Galang and Dale Evangelista put together a comprehensive training program in preparation for the Asian Championship here in November.

After the tournament in Czech Republic, part of the plan is for the national team to compete again in Singapore this September, and then return to Japan in October for another training camp.

“Ang ganda sana ng schedule namin for this year, kasi nga ang focus namin is magandang performance sa Asian Championship kung saan ang Pilipinas ang host. Ngayon hindi namin alam kung ano pa ang puwedeng matuloy sa mga yun,” said Cañete.

Swimming officials have already rescheduled the Asian Championship to November 2021.

For now, the national team continues to do online conditioning together though several of its members are not participating as both Maui Valdez and Romark Belo serve as ‘frontliners’ with the Navy.

On the other hand, Adan Gonzales, McGyver Reyes and Abnel Amiladjid are all finishing their training with the Air Force, and are likely to join Valdez and Belo in the fight against COVID-19.

“Hindi kami nakaka-join kasi yung session ng team is six in the morning – oras din halos ng duty sa kampo,” said Valdez. “Sobrang nakakahinayang din kasi, ang dami pa naman sanang magagandang plans for this year para tuluy-tuloy ang improvement ng team.”

“Kaso nahinto lahat gawa ng COVID-19. Pero dasal, ibayong pag-iingat, at sana sumunod na lang lahat sa panawagan ng gobyerno sa health protocols para naman ma-contain na natin ang sakit,” added Valdez.

 
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