VETERAN campaigner Ronnel Hualda of Go for Gold is keeping his focus in the coming 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam despite the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Hualda, now 38 but still fit as a fiddle, believes the Filipino cyclists can overcome the challenges and still excel in the biennial competition schedule Nov. 21-Dec. 2 in Hanoi.
Hualda, however, admitted they have a lot of cathing up to do.
“Medyo mabigat yun laban natin sa SEA Games sa Vietnam dahil nga limitado yun training namin. Mostly, indoor training lang sa ngayon,” Hualda told sportswriters in the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports “Usapang Sports on Air” via Zoom recently.
Hualda said the national cyclists need to get a fixed training venue soon to gauge their strengths and weaknesses, especially in road racing. “Sa ngayon, nagagawan naman namin ng paraan, gaya ng indoor training. Karamihan naman ng cyclists ng national team at saka sa Go for Gold ay merong Smart training. Karamihan kasi ng karera namin ay na-cancelled dahil sa pandemic. Magandang training sana mga yun para sa SEA Games,” explained Hualda.
He said national team cyclists are also joining online races now to keep their level of competitiveness.
“Sumasali kami sa e-racing or yun mga online races para di bumaba ang level namin,” said Hualda, adding he also has to use his own equipment for training.
“Sa tingin ko, kaya pa naman natin humabol sa training, pero sana matulungan ang mga siklista natin para magkaroon ng training venue.
He also claimed cyclists detailed at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also need to get into serious training soon.
“Karamihan ng mga nasa national team ay nasa military, pero hindi pa rin makakuha ng actual schedule ng training.”
“Tingin ko sa darating sa SEA Games, medyo di gaano magmadali pero siyempre wala pa naman tayo sa stage na kailangan mag-base training,.”
Asked about his plans for the coming years, Hualda said he plans to compete for two to three more years.
“Sa tingin ko, mga two years pa. Depende. Pero kung mapapatuloy ako sa cycling, siguro mag-coach na ako,” explained Hualda, who left the military to pursue a career in cycling.
“Cycling, talaga ang passion ko.”
The Philippines bagged three golds, four silvers and four bronzes to place second overall behind Thailand in the 30th SEA Games in Tagaytay City.