Poor nutrition, training venue blamed for athletics debacle
- Gerry Carpio () - November 23, 2011 - 12:00am

PALEMBANG, Indonesia – A day in the life of javelin thrower Danilo Fresnido begins with warmup exercises. Then he goes to the Baguio market to buy fresh vegetables and some meat which he cooks for breakfast, leaving some for lunch and dinner.

He is back in the oval at the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) training center at Teachers Camp by midmorning and afternoon.

 “I use my own allowance to pay for my food. I maintain an apartment here because it keeps me close to the training camp,” says Fresnido.

 Like the rest of the members of the athletics team, Fresnido has to fend for himself. He has to buy food out of the P15,000 allowance from the PSC.

“Under Chairman (Harry) Angping, we used to get P15,0000 on top of food allowances. Now we have to spend for everything we need out of this allowance,” said Fresnido, who also shuttles back and forth to Manila to report to his superiors in the Air Force.

Other field events athletes, like Marestella Torres, Henry Dagmil, Rosie Villarito, Arniel Ferrera and Loralie Sarmona and her husband Julius, have to train in Baguio City because the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, their national training center, is now the practice venue of the Azkals.

The ULTRA in Pasig is also being used for football, forcing the field events team to train in Baguio.

“Kung saan saan na lang kami nag-train (We trained everywhere). The Ultra is soaked when it rains. The long jump ramp has hardened and our long jumpers either get injured or miscalculate their takeoffs because the surface is like chicklet – the surface sticks to the shoes,” said long jump coach Roselyn Hamero.

When Torres was back from his training in Germany last year during Angping’s stewardship, she had to train at the Ultra for three weeks before the 2010 Asian Games. The original plan was for her to go directly to Guangzhou for the Asiad, but by that time, Angping had already stepped out and no budget was forthcoming.

The unusually hard track of the Ultra forced unnecessary adjustments in the approach and takeoff, which became a factor in her rare five fouls in missing the gold in the Asian Games.

Torres finally didn’t get to train in Pasig when Gov. Ejercito offered the more modern Sta.Cruz Sports Complex in Laguna.

When they are quartered at RMSC, they have to wake up at 4:30 a.m to avoid the traffic and be at the practice area by 7:30 a.m.. Then they have to be back at the Rizal Memorial for lunch.

When raining in Laguna they have to cook their own food since there’s no cook from the PSC to attend to them.

“Mr.Go would go to the Rizal Memorial as early as 6 a.m. to look after our needs, what else is lacking in our training,” she recalls.

The other group training in Baguio is now accustomed to Baguio food.

“Puro sayote na ang kinakain namin doon,” said Hamero.

Only 27 of the 40 recommended to the athletics training pool get allowances from the PSC.The others, who passed the POC-PSC national trials, have yet top receive their allowances.

Eric Panique and 1,500m silver medalist Mervin Guarte trained using their own allowances and were able to go to the SEAG with the help of sponsors.

“Okay naman ang training namin, kaya lang kulang kami sa basics (Our training is okay but we lacked the basic needs),” said Fresnido.

Before, chairman Angping said our tuyo (dried fish) would become a ham if we did well. Now there is no tuyo, there is no ham,” he said.

The lack of a training venue and poor nutrition has directly affected the performance of Go (Teng Kok’s) Army in the SEA Games.

Hoping to win nine gold medals, Go fell seven short of projections, with Torres and 300m steeplechase champion Rene Herrera accounting for the only golds.

Former champions Arniel Ferrera, Narcisa Atienza, Villarito and Dagmil win only a silver, while Fresnido, the three time champion, and Eduardo Buenavista were good only for the bronze.

Go has acquired new finds in silver medalists Guarte and Archand Christian (400m run) and long jumper Katherin Santos (bronze, long jump) and has built a powerful 4x400 relay team as he tries to maintain athletics’ productive stint in the SEA Games.

“We can win the gold. But now we can only give them the basic, because the PSC gives us only the basic,” says an athlete.

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