Fil-foreigners grace Isabela trackfest

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSA PATAFA secretary general Edward Kho (middle) discusses the staging of the Philippine Athletics Championships in Ilagan, Isabela. Also shown are Reli de Leon, special assistant to the PATAFA president, and national coach Jojo Posadas.

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association is putting its best foot forward for the ICTSI Philippine Athletics Championships scheduled 21 to 26 March in Ilagan, Isabela.

The event, formerly known as the PATAFA National Open, will stake 165 medals in 80 events in the Open Elite, Under-20 and Under-18 groups.

Five SEA Games countries — Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei — will field entries as part of their preparations for the Cambodia SEA Games scheduled 5 to 17 May.

Reli de Leon, special assistant to PATAFA president Terry Capistrano, said they expect 80 foreign athletes to face the country’s top bets, including 15 Filipino-foreigners who will also vie in the SEA Games.

This makes the event “a good preview” of the biennial event in Cambodia.

“After this event, we will know where we are towards the SEA Games,” De Leon said during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Edward Kho, secretary-general of PATAFA, and national coach Jojo Posadas also graced the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Kho said counting all athletes from the different provinces and LGUs, they expect as many as 800 participants to converge in Isabela.

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