Members of the national athletics’ team need to train outdoors without wearing face masks.
This is why officials of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association are seeking special permits from the local government unit of Baguio City.
The authorization is for long-distance and middle-distance runners, so they can run and jog around the National Teacher’s Camp without any light respiratory gear covering their faces.
For now, wearing face masks is a must when in a public and outdoor setting anywhere in the country for protection from the COVID-19 infection.
PATAFA marketing and communications chief Edward Kho said this on Thursday as he explained why national athletes need to drop their face masks when they go into bubble training.
Kho and national long-distance coach Eduardo Buenavista discussed the situation involving the resumption of the training of national athletes on Zoom during the weekly People Sports Conversations Program on Facebook Live, hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Kapag nag-start ito, kailangan namin ng special permit because our long-distance runners can’t run with face masks on. Kasi mahirap tumakbo,” said Kho, who added that only recreational runners should be wearing face masks during lockdowns in areas that are under strict quarantine restrictions.
“For high-level athletes, the turnover of your breathing and oxygen level is different,” explained Kho.
The PATAFA, through its president Philip Ella Juico, is working with the PSC so that Baguio City will finally allow its athletes to get ready for the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games next year.
Kho said they plan to send athletes to Baguio City for their bubble training this October.
“Ikinakasa na iyung training period for the SEA Games. There are preliminary talks, particularly in Baguio City. But, it’s not yet cast in stone,” said Kho.
For now, long-distance runners like Jeson Agravante, Jerald Zabala, Christine Hallasgo, Sonny Wagdos, Joida Jagnao, Richard Salano and Jonel Gobotia are training in their homes and in their respective provinces.
“Apektado ang training nila. Pero hindi ito puwede matigil,” said Buenavista.