The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) plans to hold two national open championships in 2021 to keep the athletes in competitive shape for a busy calendar year.

PATAFA chief Philip Ella Juico said Tuesday it is part of their mandate to hold the annual tournament, and they need to make up for lost time after the 2020 edition was rescheduled from Dec. 4-6 to a tentative date of March 19-21 in New Clark City.

The 2021 edition is being eyed either in September or October, which will serve as foundation training in time for the 2021 Vietnam Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in December.

“We don’t want to lose the momentum we gained in the SEA Games. We’re also working hard to get as many Olympic qualifiers to Tokyo as we can,” Juico said in the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

The National Open set in March will serve as a local qualifier to athletes seeking berths to the Tokyo Olympics in August.

Though the approval is still pending from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Juico is looking at around 200 athletes who will participate in the March tournament.

Most participants will also come from a two-month training bubble that PATAFA is also planning, which will start  Jan. 16 to March 16 also at New Clark City for select athletes who have strong chances of earning Olympic berths.

No details of the proposed second national open is available at the moment although Juico said its purpose is to align with their bid to maintain or surpass their performance at the 2019 SEA Games where the PH athletics team harvested 11 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals.

Source: Manila Bulletin (