PNG: All eyes on nationals

PNG: All eyes on nationals
By : Arman Carandang (Journal)

A wide open competition is well in the offing in the Philippine National Games featuring the national athletes and hundreds of potential aspirants from different localities.

“This year’s PNG will bring out the best of the national athletes,” said Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia during the formal launching of the event’s third edition yesterday at the PSC athlete’s hall.

“They will be favored being the more experienced players but they will be in for tough challenges from other athletes who want to be part of the national pool,” added Garcia.

At the same time, the government sports agency reiterated its warning against the national pool members who may be invoking their not being in tip top shape for them not to perform well in the PNG.

Sports commissioner Jolly Gomez said that national athletes have nearly a year to complete their training for the PNG without jeopardizing their focus on the SEA Games in Myanmar this December.

“Sapat ang anim na buwan para mag-peak, taper at mag-peak uli para sa isang competition. That is why we really choose the month of May for the PNG to give athletes enough time to taper and peak again for competitions in December,” explained Gomez, who is also the project director of the PNG.

When the PNG was held for the first in 2011, many of the nationals then fared miserably in the competition as most of them were either not in top shape or had tapered.

This year though, the national athletes cannot invoke the same argument again to justify their perceived lack of interest in the PNG.

“That is a valid argument only in the first year of the PNG. It (PNG) has been identified and athletes must have adjusted their schedule. May to December (peak-taper-peak) is enough time,” stressed Gomez.

The PSC has allotted P20 million for the staging alone of the PNG’s 41 sports disciplines spread in 18 venues in and around Metro Manila.

The PSC said it will save considerable amount since it will no longer have to spend for the transportation of athletes, especially those who are Manila-based, as well as the equipment to be used, although it has already spent huge amount for the renovation of some venues.

The PSC said the amount it spent for the renovation came from the P400 million it has earlier earmarked for the annual renovation of venues, with or without PNG.

The opening ceremony is set on Friday, with around 6,000 athletes the PSC is expecting to join in the traditional parade of athletes at the Rizal Memorial football Stadium.

The full hostilities will commence on Saturday until June 2, with June 3 and 4 as rest days, before the games wear on from June 5 to 8.

This early, a total of 3,000 athletes in individual categories has been accounted, and that the PSC added it is expecting another 3,000 more by Thursday.

The boxers are also expected to take part in the PNG, notwithstanding the risk the nationals would inflict on neophyte opponents.

ABAP executive director Ed Picson had earlier raised that possibility to excuse the boxers.