Rowing Olympic hopefuls in military ready to return to training

Philippine Rowing Association president Patrick Gregorio, left, and deputy secretary-general Magnum Membrere during the PSA Forum in a file photo. (PNA)

With the impending return to training of Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls as announced by Philippine Sports Institute national training director Marc Velasco recently, Philippine Rowing Association president Patrick C. Gregorio is hoping 2019 SEA Games double gold medalist Melcah Jen Caballero and bronze medalist Roque Abala Jr., still on active duty in the military, will be able to return to training by September 11 before their foreign coach leaves.

“The PRA is fortunate to have its athletes' quarters located in an isolated and restricted neighborhood a stone's throw away from the La Mesa Rowing Center, and we have implemented a strict COVID-19 safety protocol since the beginning of the quarantine measures which is regularly reviewed and updated in compliance with PSC's directives," said Gregorio.

“Some of our athletes including SEA Games gold medalists and Olympic hopefuls Cris Nievarez and Joanie Delgaco have been staying at the quarters since January. For this reason, they were able to train with their foreign coach, Mr. Shukhrat Ganiev, who continues to train the team Monday to Saturday even after his contract ended in June 2020.”

Ganiev, bared Gregorio, is still unable to return to Uzbekistan because of the current travel restriction in place in their country where all Uzbek nationals and foreigners coming from red zones like the Philippines are still not allowed entry.

He remains stranded here and has devoted his time to continue training the athletes until he can travel back home.

“His only wish is that the two Olympic hopefuls who are in the military can return to training together with the military coaches while he is still here,” Gregorio said.

“Returning to training at the earliest possible time can help them prepare for the Olympic qualifying events scheduled in April and May 2021.”