The city is ready to accommodate less than 100 national athletes, coaches and trainers for their four month bubble training here in preparati9n for the 2021 Southeast Asian Games to be held late November in Hanoi.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that four National Sports Associations (NSA) have already approached the city for the staging of the four month bubble training here and the city is “satisfied with the measures and guidelines they will implement in complying with the minimum health protocol (as prescribed by the Inter-agency Task Force).”
Speaking with mediamen after the regular flag ceremony at the Baguio City Hall grounds last Monday, Magalong said athletics, muay Thai, boxing and 3-on-3 basketball are four of the NSAs that have already presented their interest to stage their training here.
Magaliong said that the NSAs approached him because “Napakababa yung budget (Their budget is so low) so they need (local government unit) LGU help to defray expenses and use of facilities here.”
Athletics has already made a presentation on how they conduct their bubble training with the city’s management committee last May 4 here where there is also a problem on staging the training itself since the Baguio Teacher’s Camp oval is up for renovation.
Magalong said that although, the Baguio athletic bowl track can be used, the athletics team will make do because “medyo nagumpisa ng masira ang mga tracks (The tracks are starting to show damages). And they can’t use the track at Teacher’s Camp because it is up for rehab.”
Magalong offered four of the eight tracks and the athletes to train along with the city’s athletes and constituents who make use of the athletic bowl.
Some 40 athletes and coaches and trainers of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association will be using the athletic bowl tracks for their training , Magalong said.
As for the other sports, Magalong said that they are still awaiting the “coaches to coordinate with us. If they really would want to have their training here in Baguio.”
He added that this is “our (Baguio people) contribution to the training of our national athletes.”
Magalong said that he is expecting some 20 athletes, coaches and trainers for muay Thai, 20 for boxing and 15 for the 3-on-3 basketball team and some are seeking help as to the provision of “facilities and food to be given free. Although I have endorsed (their request) with the Department of Education through (Dr. Ely Raymundo).“
“Although there are sports associations, that have their own funds to cover for food and rent of facilities and accommodations,” Magalong said, specifically saying basketball.
Earlier, commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission said that they only have P100 million to fund specifically the SEAG campaign of the 625 athletes and 800 something delegate in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“Sa training halos wala ng pondo kaya (For training, we have no more funds so) we asked the LGUs to be our partner in helping us train the athletes,” Fernandez said.
Meanwhile, the Kurash Federation of the Philippines has also requested the city as host of the training for their athletes.
In a letter to Magalong through the City Sports Development Office last May 3, KSFP president Rolan Llamas sought the mayor’s assistance for their intended three months bubble training here.
Llamas wrote: “The current situation of the pandemic at the National Capital Region (NCR) is not ideal for the kind of training that our athletes would undertake, as risk of potential infection is high.”
He added that “most of the training facilities of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) have been converted as Covid-19 quarantine facilities.”
Llamas said that they have 19 athletes competing in 10 events as well as six coaches and five technical staff or a total of 30 who will be in the training facility here.
Estie Gay Liwanen, who won a gold in kurash, said that she will follow up with the CSDO this week on the status of their request as she is in Baguio.
The University of Baguio alumna said that it was she who forwarded the letter to Magalong through the CSDO and she is hoping that the Baguio Convention Center will be available for their use.
Paul Rillorta of the CSDO said that they might recommend a hotel with a facility that could be converted into a small gym for their grappling excercises.
“We have hotels that have no guests, and maybe our kurash athletes could use it,” said Rillorta.