THE coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has put sporting affairs in the country on hold but it has not stopped the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) from dispensing its duties, particularly in securing the safety and wellness of the country’s national athletes.

In a situation update shared to Radyo Pilipinas 2 late last week, PSC National Training Director Mark Velasco said the agency is on top of things three weeks since the government’s declaration of a state of public health emergency and calling for enhanced community quarantine as the country battles the spread of COVID-19.

Mr. Velasco said that they are taking care of some 30 athletes and coaches in their facility at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City.

Food is being provided to them while they are also being checked on regularly to see if they are in good health.

The PSC official said that some have complained of occasional headaches and minor ailments but thankfully none has shown any symptoms of COVID-19 by the time the update was shared.

The PSC has also made resources available to give continued service and assistance to national athletes be it online or through phone calls, providing the latter an avenue to share their concerns to sports psychologists and pertinent personnel. Medical doctors, Mr. Velasco said, are also on standby in case the need arises.

Mr. Velasco also said their monitoring extends as well to Filipino athletes training abroad, including Olympians EJ Obiena (pole vault) and Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting).

Currently in Italy for training, Mr. Obiena is safe, Mr. Velasco said.

But monitoring of his condition is keenly done with Italy among the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the world.

Olympic silver medallist Ms. Diaz, meanwhile, is in Malaysia with her team. Like Mr. Obiena, Ms. Diaz is doing well and keeping herself safe.

Mr. Velasco said that Mr. Obiena and Ms. Diaz should ask to be returned to the country they will be ready to make arrangements for it.

Meanwhile, with the 2020 Olympics deferred to next year as COVID-19 rages on, Mr. Velasco said the country’s preparation is ongoing.

“We are in constant contact with CDM Nonong Araneta as to our moves moving forward,” said Mr. Velasco, referring to Philippine chef de mission to the Tokyo Olympics Mariano Araneta.

Last week the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games to no later than the summer of 2021 so as the world could focus on the battle against COVID-19, which has affected more than 600,000 people worldwide to date.

In the Philippines, as of this writing, there are now 1,075 confirmed cases of the disease. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo