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SEA Games:  Ramon Fernandez assess COVID-19 situation when to resume athlete's training

MANILA – Hanoi Southeast Asian (SEA) Games chef de mission (CDM) Ramon Fernandez on Tuesday said the national team is now on a waiting game on when it can finally begin training for the biennial meet after stricter measures have been placed anew in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area following the Covid-19 cases surge.

Although the quarantine classification in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces has been downgraded to more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine for the rest of April, physical training remains prohibited, putting a dent to the Nationals' early buildup for the Nov. 21-Dec. 2 event.

"We are really dependent kung paano tayo aatakehin nitong pandemic na ito (on how the pandemic will attack us). We can only really speculate on when we can start and all of that," Fernandez said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

The national team members in the NCR Plus area were supposed to begin their SEA Games training this month.

One other factor that might kick in, however, is the situation in Hanoi.

"The POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) has not received any communication from the organizers in Vietnam as per Ms. Karen Caballero," Fernandez said.

The only thing he knows right now is that the Vietnamese Olympic Committee has postponed some SEA Games-related deadlines, although he has no idea what those deadlines are.

"I got a message from Karen that Vietnam pushed the deadlines. I don't know what the deadlines mean. We haven't even had a CDM meeting yet, so we're really waiting from Vietnam also," Fernandez said.

He said a PHP200-million budget has been approved for the SEA Games, PHP100 million of which is allotted for the training, while the other half is for the trip to Hanoi.

Fernandez, also a Philippine Sports Commission commissioner, said the PSC has paid PHP21 million to the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba for the bubble training of the karatekas, boxers, and taekwondo jins preparing for the Olympic qualifiers. (PNA)

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