The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) has rescheduled its planned training bubble for national athletes and the annual National Open from late this year to early 2021.

PATAFA chief Philip Juico said their request to hold the two programs are still pending the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in light with the current pandemic situation.

The association has reset the National Open from Dec. 4-6 to March 19-21 at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium, the same venue of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games where the country won 11 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals in the sport.

The competition also serves as a qualifier for local athletes seeking berths to the Tokyo Olympics, which was also rescheduled to July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

Prior to the competition, select PH team members are also set to train for two months under a bubble concept also at New Clark City from Jan. 16 to March 16.

Originally, PATAFA planned a one-month training bubble in Canlubang this month.

Since the start of quarantine last March, national athletes have resorted to individual conditioning and training in their respective provinces.

This has caused an alarm for Juico, who lamented that the level of competitiveness of the athletes has already been compromised given that 2021 will be a busy year for sports with Olympic qualifiers, the Tokyo Games and the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam.

“If the National Open will be an Olympic qualifier, our national athletes have to be prepared and be given provisions for that,” Juico said.

“Holding a two-month bubble training camp in New Clark City will benefit our athletes of the needed intensive high-performance training and at the same time provide them a safe venue to achieve that goal.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (