MANILA, Philippines -- National athletes from the boxing, karate, and taekwondo teams arrived at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna this weekend, to kickstart their training ahead of their Olympic qualifying competitions.
The boxers were the first to arrive on Friday, with world champion Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam leading the delegation. Petecio arrived from Davao City, while Paalam came from Cagayan de Oro.
They were accompanied by Marjon Pianar, Junmilardo Ogayre, Mario Fernandez, John Paul Panuayan and Marvin Tabamo.
"Sobrang excited po (ako), kasi sa wakas makaka-training na kami nang maayos at magkakasama po kami ng mga teammates ko," said Petecio, who is looking to secure a slot in Tokyo through the World Qualification Tournament in June.
The taekwondo jins and the karatekas followed into the facility on Saturday.
The taekwondo team was led by Rio Olympian Kirstie Alora, together with Kurt Barbosa, Arven Alcantara, Joseph Chua, Samuel Morrison, Baby Jessica Canabal, and Lalla Delo.
Meanwhile, the national karate team was composed of Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Jamie Lim, Sharief Afif, Ivan Agustin, Alwyn Batican, Jayson Ramil Macaalay and Norman Montalvo.
The final World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for karate is also scheduled for June in Paris, France. The taekwondo jins will try to secure their berths through the Asian qualifiers.
"In the bubble, they'll be able to train in a normal way," Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez said recently. "Unlike now na they're training on their own, puro physical conditioning lang."
"In the bubble, they will have their sparring partners, especially for the martial arts sports," he added.
The boxing and karate teams are expected to hold overseas camps after their training in the Calamba facility.
The national athletes are trying to join the four Filipinos already assured of tickets to the Tokyo Games: boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, gymnast Caloy Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.