Baguio City will host the 2021 Ayala Philippine National Championships following the ongoing renovation of the Philsports Complex in Pasig City.
Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico yesterday said they will hold their annual trackfest at the Baguio Athletic Bowl from 16 and 17 December after the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) decided to go full blast in renovating Philsports Complex.
Together with the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Baguio Training Center, Philsports Complex will serve as training venues for athletes who will compete in the 31st Southeast Asian Games and the 19th Asian Games next year.
PSC national training director Marc Velasco said Philsports is now undergoing rehabilitation after its dormitories, water system and other facilities were damaged by recent typhoons.
But Juico said their tourney, which will serve as a selection process for members of the national squad, will still go on.
“We will still push through, but we will hold it in Baguio City instead of Philsports,” said Juico, a former cabinet member and PSC chairperson.
Right now, members of the national team are having bubble training in Baguio City.
The camp will last up to 28 November, but Juico stressed that they will just stay put in the Summer Capital until the prestigious trackfest. Then, they will break their camp on 18 December for the Yuletide season before resuming their training on 3 January.
“They will stay put in Baguio City. They will just go down to Metro Manila for the Christmas season then go back to training by January 3,” said Juico, who powered the tracksters to an impressive finish of 11 gold medals in the previous 30th Southeast Asian Games two years ago.
He, however, clarified that the program only covers the members of the national team.
“We’re making a request only for members of the national team. Those outside of the team who want to join the tryouts will be on their own. We cannot cover their transportation and board and lodging,” he said.
Tipped to make their presence felt in the upcoming tourney are SEA Games gold medalists Clinton Bautista, Melvin Calano, Christine Hallasgo, Aries Toledo, Sarah Dequinan, Eloisa Luzon and Anfernee Lopez, who are all eager to protect their spots in the national squad.