HANOI — With Noel Norada and Jason Baucas showing the way, the national wrestling team goes into action Tuesday at the Gia Lam District Sporting Hall, determined to stamp its class in the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games here despite lack of training due to the pandemic.

Mr. Norada, 38, and Mr. Baucas, 24, are bidding to keep the titles they won in 2019 back home when the national team came up with a 2-10-1 gold-silver-bronze production, second overall to Vietnam.

Mr. Norada will defend his crown in the 63kg class of the Greco-Roman event while Mr. Baucas will compete in the heavier 77kg division, the 72kg class where he won in the Philippines having been scrapped by the hosts.

Other Pinoy bets competing in the Greco-Roman class of the three-day competition are Jason Balabal, Margarito Angana at Jefferson Manatad.

Seeking medals in the women’s freestyle class are Noemi Tener, Minalyn Foy-os, Grace Loberanes and Jiah Pingot while Alvin Lobreguito, Jhonny Morte, Joseph Angana and Elvis Julius will fight in the men’s side.

It could have been prevented.

Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino was lamenting on the recent brouhaha concerning the national bodybuilding team that was sent back home packing for failing to comply with the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games doping requirements.

“I did everything up to the last minute,” said Mr. Tolentino. “But they invoke some rules which could have been remedied if some officials are really ‘working officials’.”

“Anyways, it’s a lesson learned,” he added.

Composed of eight men and a woman, the squad was not allowed to compete because it did not submit the necessary doping tests that should have been done three weeks before the start of their event.

It was mentioned in the games’ handbook that all participating athletes must submit doping and clearance certificates for them to be able to join.

Apparently, the Filipino bodybuilders have not.

In a story from Agence France-Presse, a news wire agency, the team was sad to learn that they could not participate and shoot for medals in the biennial meet.

They vowed to make a big return though in next year’s SEA Games edition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.