Trashy train­ing videos

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - SPORTS - Nick Giongco

How I wish that some Filipino ath­letes wound up get­ting stuck in a for­eign land, say the United States or else­where, when the world­wide lock­down took ef­fect last March. Why is that so? It’s sim­ply be­cause those who found them­selves un­able to re­turn here are the ones do­ing well in train­ing.

Case in point is Italy-based pole vaulter EJ Obi­ena, the first Filipino to earn a berth to the Tokyo Olympics.

The 6-foot-2 Obi­ena has been busy win­ning medals in prime Euro­pean tour­na­ments that he has be­come a lead­ing can­di­date to earn Ath­lete of the Year hon­ors from the Philip­pine Sportswrit­ers As­so­ci­a­tion for year 2020 that is, if the PSA de­cides to hold an awards night.

To make a dent in Tokyo, Filipino ath­letes must start get­ting back in shape.

World cham­pion gym­nast Car­los Yulo, an­other Tokyo qual­i­fier, is in Ja­pan, where cases of the coro­n­avirus have sta­bi­lized a bit. Un­der the watchful eyes of a Ja­panese coach, Yulo’s buildup, while not ex­actly on tar­get, is pro­gress­ing well.

Rio de Janeiro Olympics sil­ver medal­ist Hidi­lyn Diaz is in Kuala Lumpur and in the thick of train­ing as well af­ter au­thor­i­ties re­laxed safety pro­to­cols.

The only things that bother Diaz are her loved ones back home in Zam­boanga City given the alarm­ing coro­n­avirus sit­u­a­tion.

But gen­er­ally, things seem to be fine over in Malaysia as Diaz reg­u­larly gets to work out in bid­ding to join Obi­ena and Yulo and two oth­ers on the list of qual­i­fiers.

Those who are here have been re­duced to send­ing out videos to their re­spec­tive na­tional sports as­so­ci­a­tions show­ing that they are some­how work­ing out.

At first, the idea of ath­letes train­ing while on lock­down sounded like a novel idea.

But as the days turned to weeks and the weeks be­came months, it is now ap­par­ent that let­ting them to train all by them­selves ap­pears fool­ish.

With­out the right fa­cil­i­ties and their train­ers un­able to study their every move, they tend to just go through the mo­tions.

Take the case of the box­ing team.

Af­ter their stint in the Asia-Ocea­nia Olympic Qual­i­fy­ing in Amman, Jor­dan early-March, Eu­mir Mar­cial and Ir­ish Magno pro­ceeded to their re­spec­tive homes.

Mar­cial went to Imus, Cavite, Magno re­turned to Iloilo and other pugs who failed to make the Olympic grade like­wise re­united with their fam­i­lies in the prov­inces.

Mar­cial even tried his hand in salt­ing dried fish and plant­ing while Magno helped out in the rice field and an­other team­mate moon­lighted as a steve­dore.

Apart from Mar­cial and Magno, other solid Olympic can­di­dates in­clude Carlo Paalam, Ro­gen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista and James Pal­icte and fe­male world cham­pion Nesthy Pete­cio.

Box­ing sec­re­tary gen­eral Ed Pic­son is cur­rently work­ing to con­vince the In­ter-Agency Task Force on Emerging In­fec­tious Dis­eases (IATF) to al­low a se­lect num­ber of box­ers to set up camp.

In an on­line meet­ing with Tokyo Olympics chief of mis­sion Nonong Araneta, Pic­son re­it­er­ated his de­sire to re­call the box­ers and coaches back to Manila.

Still, Pic­son will not go to the ex­tent of gather­ing them in a se­cluded area so they could start train­ing sim­i­lar to what a col­le­giate cage coach re­cently did.

It is now ap­par­ent that let­ting them to train all by them­selves ap­pears fool­ish.

Pic­son said Plan A is for them to re­turn to their old gym at the Rizal Memo­rial Sports Com­plex “since it has every­thing.”

But Pic­son in­sists safety re­mains para­mount but will none­the­less sub­mit to Araneta the cost of set­ting up a bub­ble for box­ing.

In the mean­time, box­ing and all the other sports other than pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball and foot­ball are wish­ing that the IATF takes the time to heed their call.

As you see, all the IATF has to do is look at Obi­ena to know the ath­letes’ plight.

To make a dent in Tokyo, Filipino ath­letes must start get­ting back in shape.

Enough of those silly work­out videos.

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