PSC approves SEA Games lineup; Athletes await IATF approval on training resumption

Published March 19, 2021, 3:47 PM

by Carlo Anolin

In this file photo, athletes of the Philippine delegation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games wave their mini-flags before being crowned as the overall champions. (MB File Photo)

The Philippine Sports Commission has approved the lineup for the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games even as training resumption has yet to get a go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The Philippine Olympic Committee has recently submitted to the PSC the documents containing the entry of 626 athletes who will be competing in 39 out of 40 sports in the Vietnam Games.

No thanks to the strict measures and spike of COVID-19 cases, majority of the teams have yet to receive formal training as they are only limited to online sessions with respective coaches.

This comes as a big hurdle for athletes as the biennial event draws near.

“[W]e will still await the IATF’s approval to formally resume, but we hope to have everything in place so we can immediately go once we get the green light,” said PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, also the country’s chef de mission for the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Fernandez said the PSC board made the decision in the hopes of boosting the country’s preparation to defend the overall title.

In the 2019 edition, before the coronavirus-era, the Philippines emerged as the overall champions, followed by Vietnam and Thailand.

The 31st SEA Games, set from November 21 to December 2, has 40 sporting events prepared, which is relatively smaller compared to the 56 the country pulled off in 2019. The latest additions last October were esports, jiu-jitsu, triathlon and bowling.

Select national teams, meanwhile, are conducting respective training camps in preparation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in July ahead of the SEA Games.

The national karate and boxing teams are holed up in Turkey and Thailand, respectively, after their bubble training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna while the taekwondo squad remained in “Calambubble.”

The fencing and archery teams are also busy preparing in Ormoc and Dumaguete, respectively.

Allowances now available

In an advisory, Thursday, March 18, the PSC announced that the January allowance for the athletes and local coaches of Olympic-bound sports have been released while the February counterpart is being processed.

The rest of the national teams are bound to receive their allowances from February subject to the submission of documents by respective national sports associations (NSAs).

“It took a while to go through the reassessment of our more than 1,300 strong national team. We have to also follow requirements and policies since we are using government funds, but it is now done and subsequent processes have been started,” said PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.