From four international events, Philippine Athletics and Track and Field athletes like recently re-instated Katherine Santos can only play in two.
This after the Philippine Sports Commissioned announced that it has no budget to send athletes outside of the biennial Southeast Asian Games on May and the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September.
“We were told the there is no budget,” Santos told this writer Tuesday putting a slight dumper to her preparations for the February 11 to 13 Asian Indoor Championship in the Kazakh capital of Nur Sultan where 29 countries are expected to compete.
Santos, who returns to jump as one of the four long jump athletes, will not be able to go back to the United States for the World Athletics Championship set in Eugene, Oregon on July 15 to 24.
These two elite competitions were eyed by PATAFA chair Philip Ella Juico as destinations for their athletes this year after staging a successful Philippine Athletics Championship at the Baguio athletic bowl on December 16 and 17 last year where Santos ruled both the 100-meter run and her favorite long jump where she beat legend Marestella Torres-Sunang.
Santos said that she now sets here eye at the SEAG an May 12-23 in Hanoi, Vietnam where she hopes to better her bronze performance in the 2011 edition of the biennial meet.
Then off to the 19th edition of the Asian Games in the Chinese city that will run from September 10 to 25 and will have 482 events in 40 sports discipline and will have 45 Asian nations participating.
In cancelling the Asian Indoors and World Championships, PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez said that they cut the two due to budgetary constraint.
The PSC has PhP121 to fund the SEAG sortie with PhP71 million from last year’s savings and the PhP50 million allocated by the Department of Budget Management. The Philippine team of 626 athletes and hundreds more of officials is expected to be trimmed down even further.
Last year, the DBM allotted PhP200 million for the SEAG where PhP129 million had been used for training and uniforms but the games were moved to May this year.
The DBM has earmarked PhP70 million for the Asian Games.
Santos tries to shake off rust after three years of absence from the track when she gave birth to a son, now three.
She beat Sunang via countback despite leaping 6.06 meters, which is way below their personal bests of 6.40 and 6.71 meters, respectively.
Santos said that it is still a long way and she needs to get back on track before the May SEAG.
Santos said that she needs also to get a slot in the 4 x 100 meter relay where she made a strong case when she won the 100 meter run in last year’s PAC.
She posted a 12.61 second time which is still way below her 11.99 seconds personal best. She said that she could make the cut to the team depending on her performance in the Philippine National Games set on March at a yet unidentified venue.
In the 2019, the 4 x 100 meter team led by Kristina Knott finished second to Thailand. Knott finished second to Vietnam’s Le Tu Chinh in the 100 meter run after clocking 11.55 against the latter’s 11.54.