Bubble training for Olympic aspirants set in Calamba

Published December 17, 2020, 3:00 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) plans to send athletes from three combat sports vying for Tokyo Olympics spots to a bubble training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

The development came after the Inter-Agency Task Force recently approved the training of athletes for the Olympics.

Read: PSC seeks IATF clarification as elite training gets clearance

PSC chairman Butch Ramirez said they are looking at 29 athletes from boxing, taekwondo and karatedo to undergo the bubble training, where they will be confined to the venue for 90 days.

Boxing will have 16 athletes with a budget of P2 million, while taekwondo and karatedo will have five and eight people with more than P1 million and P1.5 million allocated budget for training.

The budget included room and lodging, meals, snacks, gym rentals and use of facilities.

Ramirez, however, said these national sports associations must follow the 10-point protocol that the PSC has formulated to ensure the health and safety of the athletes and coaches.

Read: PSC to prioritize COVID-19 vaccination for national athletes, coaches

He also said the training bubble would serve as a guide for future training setups of other national athletes.

“If ito mag-click, maging successful, then we can continue to potential athletes going to the Southeast Asian Games, the AIMAG (Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games). Kasi ang priority muna namin dito is yung mga may malalaking chance mag-qualify to the Olympics,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez added other NSAs with athletes who have high chances of qualifying to the Olympics can also do their own training bubble setup “provided they could identify a venue, present a realistic budget, show they have the potential to get Olympic slots and follow the 10-point protocol.”

The country currently has four Olympic-bound athletes with three training abroad: pole vaulter EJ Obiena in Italy, gymnast Carlos Yulo in Japan and boxer Eumir Marcial in the United States.

Boxer Irish Magno is the lone Olympic qualifier training locally and is expected to enter the said training bubble.

As of Dec. 10, among those expected to enter the training bubble based from the list provided by the PSC are boxers Maricel dela Torre, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez, Claudine Veloso, Charly Suarez, Nesthy Petecio, Riza Pasuit, James Palicte, Jere Samuel Dela Cruz, Marjon Planar, Junmilardo Ogayre and John Marvin.

Taekwondo athletes going to the bubble are Pauline Lopez, Kurt Barbosa, Arven Alcantara and 2016 Rio Olympian Kirstie Elaine Alora, as well as karatekas Jaime Lim, Joane Orbon, Ivan Agustin, Sharief Afif, Alwyn Batican and Junna Tsukii.

The PSC has identified 83 Olympic hopefuls from 19 sports, some are also preparing abroad.

Among the hopefuls are 2016 Rio Olympians Eric Cray (athletics), Jasmine Alkhaldi (swimming), Miguel Tabuena (golf), silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) and Nestor Colonia (weightlifting).