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Tokyo Olympic aspirants to enter bubble training

Tokyo Olympics aspirants and their teammates from national teams of boxing, taekwondo, and karate were given a virtual orientation by the Philippine Sports Commission yesterday on safety protocols set for the bubble training at Inspire Sports Academy.

“We called for this meeting to emphasize the safety protocols you will be needing for this Olympic training bubble. I am confident that we can all adjust to this, but know that your safety is paramount to the PSC,” said PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who along with Chef de Mission Nonong Araneta led the online briefing.

In his welcome speech, Araneta reiterated that the safety of each athlete is paramount in bubble training.

“I wish all of you the best for your qualifiers so that we can bring more glory to Philippine sports,” he added.

Strict protocols crafted by the agency’s Medical Scientific Athletes Services Unit will be observed by the 46 athletes and coaches inside the bubble facility in Calamba, Laguna this month.

“Athletes will undergo a series of RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing. Prior to entry, upon entry, and several testings during the bubble training,” MSAS Unit head, Dr. Randy Molo, said.

He encouraged everyone to restrict movement 14 days before entry, and restricted interactions seven days before their entry into the bubble facility.

“From today, everyone must reconsider all the places and people they will be interacting with,” he added.

Delegates will be subjected to another round of RT-PCR tests inside the facility and will be billeted in isolated rooms. Results are to be relayed by the Covid Enforcement Team, headed by MSAS’ Dr. Janis de Vera.

“Athletes and coaches will be billeted in single and double occupancy rooms, with pick-and-go scheme in food distribution all throughout the bubble,” de Vera said.

Philippine Sports Institute National Training director Marc Velasco added that the MSAS medical, rehabilitation, strength and conditioning, sport massage, sports physiology, sports nutrition, and sports psychology units will be available to serve the Olympic hopefuls via live and virtual consultations.

“The PSC is here for your needs as we work to keep the integrity of the bubble,” he said. “Our boxing team is scheduled to arrive on January 15, with the taekwondo and karate teams on January 16 and 17, respectively. All travel orders are also being arranged by the agency.”

Inspire Sports Academy head of Sales JM Pilares and his team were also present in the meeting and briefed the national athletes on house rules, available amenities, and other useful information inside the venue.

On Dec. 15, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) approved the recommendation for the resumption of training for the national team qualifying for Tokyo Olympics.

Boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena have already qualified for Tokyo Olympics originally scheduled in July last year but was postponed due to the pandemic. The games have been rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, while the Paralympic Games will take place on Aug. 24-Sept. 5, 2021.*PR

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