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Philsports disinfection set; 22 athletes, including fencers, set to go home before training resumes

By Waylon Galvez

A member of the Philippine fencing team in action during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

A member of the Philippine fencing team in action during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Local athletes with Olympic qualifiers set next year will be training at the Philippine Sports Complex (formerly ULTRA) as the Philippine Sports Commission finalizes details of the schedule after the venue undergoes disinfection.

Philippine Sports Institute head Marc Velasco said yesterday that disinfection procedure is set at the athletes’ quarters in preparation for their possible return to training.

“The remaining athletes at ULTRA, we asked them to vacate, we asked them to return to their respective provinces because the quarters need to be disinfected,” said Velasco.

Around 22 athletes are reportedly still housed at the Pasig venue after getting stranded by travel restrictions brought on by the lockdown.

The venue at ULTRA, particularly the basketball court, has been transformed into a medical facility for COVID-19 patients in a joint project by the Department of Health and the PSC.

Athletes with qualifying tournaments next year – events that were called off this year due to the coronavirus pandemic – would be allowed to train and stay at the facility once it is deemed the place is safe.

No definite date of the athletes’ return was given.

Among those at Philsports are two of the six fencers scheduled to compete in next year’s Asian Championship in South Korea – Noelito Jose and Hanniel Abella for men’s and women’s epee events.

Fencing’s national team head coach Amat Canlas said the three are training until August under South Korean mentors Seungjun Kim and Sangsun Park – a gold medalist during the 2006 Asian Games.

Expected to join them are Jylyn Nicanor and Chris Jester Concepcion for men’s/women’s saber, and Nathaniel Perez and Samantha Catantan in foil event.

Nicanor won gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in saber event last year, Concepcion and Abella earned silver medals in foil and epee, respectively, while Jose settled for a bronze medal in men’s epee.

The 18-year-old Catantan is the reigning Asian under-23 champion.

It is assumed the fencers and their counterparts in other disciplines will be relocating elsewhere until they are summoned back to Philsports.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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