Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)

MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he would personally support the request of sports officials to allow the resumption of training of Tokyo-bound Filipino athletes and others seeking Olympic slots.

In a virtual presser, Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has yet to decide on the resumption of training activities for Tokyo-bound athletes.

“Wala pa pong aksiyon (There have been no actions taken yet), but I would personally support that because I want gold in the Tokyo Olympics like everyone else,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee agreed to endorse for approval of the IATF-EID the resumption of training of the four qualified national athletes to the Tokyo games and some hopefuls.

“We initiated the meeting with POC with the good of our national athletes in mind. Lagi ‘yan priority (That’s always the priority) as Chairman Butch Ramirez always says” said PSC Officer in charge, Commissioner Ramon Fernandez.

Fernandez is currently in charge of the government’s sports arm while Ramirez is on leave.

He, however, said the final decision will remain with the IATF.

“We can only recommend, but they have the final say,” he said.

The PSC board has already identified six facilities at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Manila City and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City, which may be available for training.

These are the Fencing Hall, Multi-Purpose Center, Strength and Conditioning Building, Dormitory Training Hall in Philsports, and the Taekwondo and Boxing gyms at the RMSC.

He assured that they will observe strict quarantine protocols to ensure athletes’ health and safety.

Earlier, the IATF-EID approved the joint administrative order of the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and Department of Health that provides guidelines on the conduct of “health-enhancing physical activities and sports” during the pandemic.

“Pinayagan po ‘yung practice at conditioning ng basketball at saka ng football (The practice and conditioning of basketball and football players are now allowed),” Fernandez said.

In May, the IATF-EID allowed the resumption of non-contact sporting activities in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Under IATF-EID Resolution 38, athletes and enthusiasts of running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, and skateboarding can now play the sports they love in places under GCQ.

They are, however, mandated to observe minimum public health standards, such as “wearing of masks and maintenance of physical distancing protocols.”

Four Filipino athletes have so far qualified to compete and try to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo next year. They are pole vaulter Ernest Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial (men’s middleweight) and Irish Magno (women’s flyweight). (PNA)