Strict health and safety protocols during training, competition, and upon returning to the country will be tackled when sports officials discuss the many challenges that the Philippine delegation will face in the coming 2022 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission said this as he once again assumed the role of Team Philippines’ chef de mission.
Talks on the readiness of the Philippine delegation will be tackled in a meeting with Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino next week.
“We’ll talk about everything on our preparations. Iyung protocols, mabigat iyan,” said Fernandez.
With host Vietnam dealing with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, work and preparation for the games is focused on the establishment of health and safety protocols that will be followed by many delegations, which will be in Vietnam for the regional competitions.
As for the Philippines, finding venues to train by the second week of January is also one of the priorities.
Fernandez said there are plans to have many areas inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City ready for training.
The agency is first seeking the approval of the Department of Health on the protocols that they will follow once the facilities are open.
“Bubuksan na ang mga facilities na gagamitin ng mga atleta. Kailangan lang ay payagan ng DOH ang mga protocols na ilalagay naming doon,” said Fernandez.
The venues that are to be used will be limited since many venues inside the government-controlled facilities are still being utilized as COVID-19 quarantine areas for almost two years.
Fernandez bared that for now, training of athletes in judo, taekwondo, wrestling, sambo and table tennis will be allowed inside the RMSC.
Over at Philsports, swimming and football will most likely be allowed, along with a few other sports disciplines that they have yet to identify.
Vietnam organizers are preparing Hanoi as the main hub of the games, with 11 other surrounding provinces hosting various events, requiring many athletes, coaches, and officials to do a lot of travelling and follow health and safety protocols on site.
And since no athletes’ village was built, delegates from participating countries will be housed in hotels near their competition venues.