The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association’s (PATAFA) plan to stage the national championships at New Clark City in Capas town, Tarlac should expect the full support of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
Pending the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the annual athletics tournament will take place on March 19 to 21, 2021, at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium that hosted the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Philip Juico, president of PATAFA, the sports national governing body, conveyed the BCDA administrations’s eagerness to partner with the PATAFA in holding the athletics championships in New Clark City.
Athletics collected 11 gold, 8 silver, and 8 bronze medals in the recent biennial regional games.
The calendared national championship is intended to serve as a qualifier for local athletes seeking an Olympic berth.
Besides the National Open, the PATAFA has also included in their proposal a 2-month training camp for the national athletics team that will operate under the bubble concept.
Since March, at the start of the pandemic lockdown, the national tracksters have been sidelined from their high performance training as they were directed to clear out the PhilSports complex in Pasig and return to their respective hometowns.
Juico lamented that the level of competitiveness of the national team members has already been compromised.
“If the National Open will be an Olympic qualifier, our national athletes have to be prepared and be given provisions for that,” Juico said.
“Holding a two-month bubble training camp in New Clark City will benefit our athletes of the needed intensive high-performance training and at the same time provide them a safe venue to achieve that goal.”
In October, BCDA president Vince Dizon said New Clark City lost out on the opportunity to lease out several of its facilities because of COVID-19.
"If not for the pandemic, 5 international groups would have leased the property this year," BCDA president Vince Dizon said during his agency's budget hearing in the Senate.
"After the pandemic hit, na-cancel ito."