The New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac is reopening its doors to Filipino athletes with the hosting of the 2021 Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) National Selection Bubble from October 22 to 24, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority announced.
In a statement on Wednesday, the BCDA said that a total of 71 local swimmers will join the national tryouts at the world-class Aquatics Center in a bid to qualify for the 15th Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Swimming Championships 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this December.
The swimmers are also eyeing to compete in the 19th FINA World Championships 2022 expected to be held in Fukuoka, Japan in May next year, it added.
The PSI event was originally scheduled for August 28 to 30 as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. However, it was postponed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, which warranted the reimposition of stricter mobility restrictions.
“As a home for Filipino athletes, New Clark City is proud to host this swimming event and help the country’s hopefuls go for gold in international competitions,” said BCDA Officer-in-Charge Atty. Aristotle Batuhan.
“Through the PSI bubble, our countrymen can see that the country is on the path towards healing, with our athletes serving as icons of determination and strength despite the odds,” he added.
In the same statement, PSI President Lani Velasco said that the event seeks to inspire athletes to continue their efforts despite the pandemic.
“We hope that the event can show to the youth that we can rise again and recover from this pandemic. We hope to encourage current swimmers to train even more to reach their dreams,” she said.
“We also hope to encourage more individuals to take on the sport. After more than a year of not holding events, the 2021 PSI Swimming National Selection Bubble is only the beginning of more events to come,” she added.
The competition will be held at the New Clark City Aquatics Center.
Athletes, coaches and staff joining the event will be billeted at the Hotel Stotsenberg in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
Batuhan assured that strict health and safety protocols will be implemented during the tryouts.
He reminded that movement of bubble participants will be limited to the hotel and the training venue.
Vaccinated bubble participants are required to take an RT-PCR test, followed by home isolation. They will take more tests (RT-PCR and antigen) before isolating at Hotel Stotsenberg until the result is known.
In case a participant tests positive inside the bubble, Batuhan assured that Hotel Stotsenberg has rooms allocated for isolation. Partner hospitals will also be on standby to provide medical care.
The 2021 PSI Swimming National Selection Meet is hosted by BCDA, its subsidiary Clark Development Corp. (CDC), and PSI, the country’s governing body for aquatic sports.