The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) is gearing up for two big track and field events this coming March.
First up is the 14th Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championship (SEAYAC). This marks the second time for the Philippines to host the annual regional championships. The athletics event for 13- to 17-year-old athletes will begin on March 2-3 in Ilagan City.
Then on March 6-8, the Philippine Athletics Championships (PAC) will commence, also in Ilagan City. Popularly known as the National Open, this will serve as a selection phase for standouts to represent the Philippines in 2019’s Southeast Asian Games.
The week-long PAC and SEAYAC will be open to the public and livestreamed on social media sites.
“We expect a much bigger number of athletes. For both events, there will probably be a thousand athletes. There is heightened interest because the National Open will be one of the qualifiers for the Philippine team for the SEA games,” says Philip Ella Juico, PATAFA President.
The week-long athletics event has both government and private sector partners. These include the City of Ilagan, IAAF, and the Philippine Sports Commission. Private companies such as Ayala Corporation, Milo, Soleus, L TimeStudio, Foton, and Cherrylume GI Sheet are also among the sponsors. Juico also shared that partners like L TimeStudio and Milo are contributing to the pool of prizes for the athletes.
Who to watch for in the 2019 Philippine Athletics Competition
Aside from the 1,000 up-and-coming Pinoy track and field athletes, the Open will see runners from other Asian countries. Among them are India, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Other notable athletes to keep an eye on are Eric Cray (featured in photo above), Trenten Beram, Mark Harry Diones, UP’s Jeremiah Malonzo, Ateneo’s Kimberly Zulueta, Kristina Knott, Carter Lily, Nathalie Uy, Alyanna Nicholas, and Marestella Torres-Sunang.