To stay competitive, the Philippines must train early and look for potential athletes who can excel in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in 2021.
National coach Jojo Posadas said this following the conclusion of the 2019 SEA Games.
“Mahirap ang labanan sa Vietnam. Pero, kailangan, as early as possible, kailangan mag-focus sa training,” said Posadas.
Posadas said there are many new talented athletes who could shine in Vietnam.
Among them is marathon runner Christine Hallasgo and sprinter Frederick Ramirez.
Hallasgo did the unexpected when she took the women’s marathon crown in beating Cebuana runner and Olympian Mary Joy Tabal.
Ramirez teamed up with Edgardo Alejan, Michael del Prado, and Joyme Sequita to finish third in the men’s 4×400-meter relay.
Discovering talent, according Posadas will take place when the collegiate season in the UAAP and the NCAA commences in the next two months.
The National Open and the Palarong Pambansa can also be a good source of new talents.
In the Philippine national athletics meet in Ilagan, Isabela, and in the Palarong Pambansa in Davao City early this year, there were eight young tracksters who stood out.
Among them was 17-year-olds Jasmin Bombita from Irosin, Sorsogon, and Bernalyn Bejoy of Bacolod City who earned slots the national team.
Bombita, then an 11th grader at the Gallanosa National High School, set one of 10 new meet records in the Palaro when she cleared 12.46 meters.
This eclipsed the 11.81 meters which Felyn Dolloso did nine years ago.
Bejoy, who played of Team Negros Occidental also gained a qualification in the 2019 SEA Games with her silver medal finish in the 400-meter hurdles of the 2019 Ayala Philippine Athletics Championships.