The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has earmarked around P15 million for the upcoming training of the Tokyo Olympics hopefuls in boxing, taekwondo and karate under a bubble setup at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
“Well, I think a little over 15 million ang na-allocate namin for that. May savings naman tayong nakita,” said PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez during the PSC Hour program of Radyo Pilipinas on Friday.
“Pasalamat din tayo sa PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) na medyo tumaas ‘yung last assistance from the NSDF (National Sports Development Fund). Malaking tulong,” added Fernandez, who is overseeing the preparations for the training bubble.
Fernandez said the training is all set to fire off on January 16, a week later than the target start date as the bubble participants needed to comply with different travel requirements from their respective provinces.
The PSC already held a virtual orientation for all the 57 athletes, coaches, medical personnel and staff on Wednesday, laying down the strict health and safety protocols to ensure that the facility will be COVID-19 free throughout the planned three-month duration of the training.
Like all “bubbles” held in the country and abroad, the athletes and other delegates will be prohibited to leave once they enter Inspire unless they will compete in a tournament, as in the case of the karatekas who will fly to Portugal to join a tilt then to Turkey to continue their training.
A weekly or bimonthly press conference regarding the progress of the training is in the works with the Inspire staff tasked to send photos and videos to the media to avoid physical coverage, according to Fernandez.
Fernandez added that the Olympic hopefuls in other sports aside from boxing, taekwondo and karate will have their own training in different venues but with the same stringent health measures.
“Doon sa mga papasok sa Inspire at magte-training sa ibang venues for Olympics, konting tiyaga na lang at magbubunga din ang sakripisyo niyo. Isipin niyo na lahat ng kababayan natin ay nasa likod ninyo, nagdadasal para sa inyo,” he said.
Through the training bubble, the PSC is aiming at having more qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics slated on July 23 to Aug. 8.
Four Filipino athletes in boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena have already punched their tickets to the Olympics.
The training of Filipino Olympic aspirants will push through despite the recent declaration of a month-long state of emergency covering the greater Tokyo area as Japan continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The Tokyo 2020 organizers stressed that the state of emergency is an opportunity “to plan for a safe and secure Games this summer.”