The pandemic now threatens our SEA Games participation.
One year later, the coronavirus has not been stopped, let alone minimized. It has even spiked to record levels of 7,000-plus a day from 2,000-plus.
Alarming as it is, our sports officials cannot be blamed if they’d consider, seriously, skipping the regional meet set from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) was the first to bang the bells.
Noting the nascent number of virus cases swamping our sports facilities in Metro Manila, Fernandez said it might be wise for us to skip the coming SEA Games that we won in 2019 in Manila.
“Skipping the biennial meet is now really an option,” said Fernandez in TV 5’s “Chasedown” program last weekend.
He could be right as he was speaking from hard data.
He said that at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium along Adriatico St., Manila, now transformed from a basketball court to a mega-swabbing center, some 6,110 residents had undergone testing. Some 611 of them were suspected of being virus positive over the last three days.
The iconic Rizal Memorial Coliseum, venue of the Fiba World Basketball Cup in 1978, and where Tokyo Olympics-bound Carlos Yulo won his three SEA Games gymnastics gold medals in December 2019, has now become a quarantine facility.
“It is now almost fully booked with 97 patients,” said Fernandez, the nation’s first four-time PBA MVP.
Over at Philsports, formerly Ultra where the PBA games were played in the early ‘90s, Fernandez cited 111 admissions out of a maximum 132 beds.
As the chef de mission of the Philippine team to the Vietnam SEA Games, Fernandez knows where he is coming from.
With said sporting facilities committed for use to Covid-19 patients, Fernandez, his hands practically tied, can do nothing but pray.
Fernandez happily reports, though, that not “a single member” of the national training pool is positive of the virus that has killed 2.7 million out of a total 123 million cases worldwide, with the United States being the hardest hit with 542,000 casualties since March 2020.
So, no SEA Games for us this year?
Fine by me. Health first, hurrahs second.