LOOK: This is the Imus sports hub where Patafa's athletes train for SEA Games

Mar 29, 2022
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Anfernee Lopena trains at nine-lane track oval at Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub.

WITH THE Hanoi edition of the biennial meet just a little over a month away, athletes in the track and field disciplines are getting ready to match, or even surpass, their 27 medal haul from the 2019 SEA Games.

Despite the headline-making rift between the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) and top pole vaulter EJ Obiena, other athletes under the aegis of the athletics association are hunkering down in preparation for the Hanoi games.

Many of them are training inside the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus, Cavite, a training and wellness facility located inside a sprawling 750-hectare estate managed by Ayala Land. In fact, the track oval — all nine lanes of it — are exclusively for the use of Patafa athletes.

Mark Diones training for long jump.

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“Itong Vermosa ang pinakaunang nagkaroon ng nine lanes na track oval dito sa Pilipinas. So very helpful siya,” said Mark Diones, who bagged silver in men’s triple jump at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

“Malawak ‘yung [training] area, wala masyadong mga distractions like sa previous na tine-trainingan namin. Napaka malaking tulong sa amin lalong lalo na kapag nagha-hard workout kami.”

He added, “Solong-solo namin ‘yung oval.”

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    Patafa athletes maximizing the use of sports facility

    The track oval isn’t the only sports facility inside the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub. There’s also an Olympic-size lap pool, a football field, plenty of green spaces, a 3.2-kilometer bike trail, bike lanes, jogging paths, and a sports science laboratory.

    Khay Santos doing stretches at the track oval.

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    "Maayos ‘yung training ko dito kasi at the same time, nakaka-unwind ka kasi [maayos] ‘yung environment,” said Khay Santos, a SEA Games long jump medalist who is rejoining the national team after she decided to take a break back in 2018.

    It’s a welcome change from the difficulties of the pandemic, where these athletes had to find a way to keep in shape despite the stay-at-home restrictions.

    As Anfernee Lopena (a gold medalist back in 2019 in the 4x100m relay) recalled, “Bilang isang atleta, dapat nandun ‘yung determination mo na gagawa ka ng paraan na maging active ka pa rin sa lifestyle mo gaya ng workout from home. Dun ka mag-workout sa bahay niyo. Hanap ka ng mga [empty] na parking space. Basta lang active ka sa lifestyle para hindi [totally] mawala.”

    Triathlete Gene Heart Quiambao practices laps at night.

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    Even non-athletes are welcome to drop by Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub, which is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Don’t be surprised, though, if you see our track and field national team hard at work when you visit.

    After all, as triple jump athlete Ronnie Malipay said, “As an athlete, ito pa rin po kami, buo ‘yung tiwala namin na maggo-goal ‘yung bawat isa amin at makakamit talaga ‘yung medal.”

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    Anfernee Lopena trains at nine-lane track oval at Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub.
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