PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez thinks it’s about time for the national athletes and Olympic hopefuls to get back into their training under a facility that passes the minimum health standard required by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Ramon Fernandez 1 - Olympic hopefuls training must start now — Fernandez
Ramon Fernandez PHOTO From Wikipedia

“It has to start now, or at a very least by December so the athletes will have at least seven months to prepare for the Olympics,” Fernandez told the Manila Times over the phone.

Tokyo Olympics has been moved to July 24 to August 8 next year from its supposed 2020 schedule owing to the effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic that struck the world and put the sporting scene on a standstill.

“These athletes need to join qualifying tournaments to make it to the Olympics. They have to get in shape now,” stressed the 19-time PBA champion Fernandez.

Fernandez said that the NSAs (national sports associations) have their own plans on how to go about the training of their athletes and where they would do it.

The training plans will have to get the approval of the Joint Administrative Order composed of the Department of Health, PSC and the Games and Amusement Board.

The facilities must follow the strict health protocol mandated by the IATF.

Other concern, Fernandez said, is the budget for the Olympics.

“We will have to wait for the budget, since we asked P150 million budget to the Congress for the training and preparation for the Olympics,” he stressed.

Fernandez said that some of the NSAs are in negotiations with the Inspire Sports Academy, which is an extension campus of the National University owned by the Sy family of the SM group.

The P1.5-billion Inspire Sports Academy is a world-class learning and sports institution. It has a state-of-the-art sports complex and a 176-bed, 60-room dormitory. The NSAs that expressed interest to train there are from sports of karate, taekwondo and boxing.

PSC’s training facilities for the national athletes at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and the PhilSports in Pasig are currently being used as Covid-19 facilities.

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