INCHEON, South Korea: Newly-elected Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) President Philip Ella Juico wants to continue the program started by former athletics chief Go Teng Kok to ensure that the associations won’t loose its track.
The Patafa is scheduled to stage the annual National Open on November 19 to 22 in Lingayen, Pangasinan with high hopes of discovering talents from different parts of the country especially those in the junior level. The senior level, however, will be a star-studded affair as some Filipino-foreign tracksters have already signified intentions to participate this year.
The National Open serves as a qualifying event for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore and other major international tournaments.
“Maraming sumasali na magagaling, but my belief is we have to prioritize kung saang disciplines tayo magko-concentrate. But if there is an athlete who is outstanding but not part of our priority list, then we should make an exception,” said Juico, a former chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Juico also stressed his full support to the current members of the national team including long jumper Marestella Torres, who failed to win a medal in the 2014 Asian Games here.
“In sports, we are always greeted by surprises. Those things happen, the important thing is to move on and train hard for the next competition,” said Juico.
Torres missed a chance of earning a podium finish after fouling all her three attempts. The event was won by Indonesian Maria Natalia Londa, who submitted 6.55 meters. Torres has a personal best of 6.71 meters.
Juico, however, remains confident of Torres.
“Our program continues. Torres and [decathlete]Jesson Cidare on top of our list of priority athletes. We need about 13 to 14 athletes to focus on and each one of them needs P117,000 a month from our sponsors for trainer’s expenses, food, vitamins, and others for them to be successful,” said Juico.