MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino athletes should continue to train even after the 2021 Southeast Asian Games was postponed, according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino.
Tolentino announced last week that the SEA Games Federation unanimously agreed that the biennial event will not be held this year, as the region continues to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SEA Games was originally scheduled for November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"Sumulat na kami sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) na ituloy 'yung training," Tolentino said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
"Anyway, hindi naman SEA Games lang ang pinaghahandaan natin eh," he pointed out.
Vietnam organizers have yet to announce a new date, but there are other multi-sport events that Filipino athletes are expected to compete in next year.
The Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games are scheduled for March 10-20 in Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand, while the Asian Games are set for September 10-25 in Hangzhou, China.
"Ituloy na lang 'yung training kasi andoon na 'yung momentum. So, kung ano man ang nasimulang training, sayang naman kung ika-cut pa," Tolentino said. "Dahil may budget na naman, gamitin na lang nila sa pagtuloy."
Tolentino is unsure as to when Vietnam can provide a new date for the SEA Games, as he expects them to be quite busy with their own preparations for the Tokyo Olympics as well.
In the meantime, he is hopeful that the PSC will approve their request for national athletes to continue their training programs.
"Advantage ng kaunti sa atin dahil mahaba 'yung training," he said. "'Yung mga nakapag-national open, good for them din, tuloy-tuloy na ang training nila. 'Yung mga hindi pa nakapag-national open, makakahabol pa lalo."
The Philippines dominated the 2019 edition of the SEA Games, winning 149 gold medals to emerge as overall champions.