The track is set for the staging of the ICTSI Philippine Athletics Championships from March 21 to 26 in Ilagan City, Isabela.
Some 800 athletes, including 80 from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei, are joining the tournament which will offer world ranking points.
Except for world No. 3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena and, William Morrison III of shotput, all medalists of the 2022 Vietnam Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are seeing action in the event formerly known as the Philippine Open.
There are 165 medals to be awarded in the men's and women's Open Elite, Under-20 and Under-18 categories.
Philippine Racing Commission chair Reli de Leon, who serves as special assistant to Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Terry Capistrano, said the tournament is a "good preview" of the Cambodia SEA Games in May, with the participation of the country's potential national pool, including 15 Filipino-foreigners.
'After this event, we will know where we are towards the SEA Games,' De Leon said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on Tuesday.
PATAFA secretary general Edward Kho and national team head coach Jojo Posadas also attended the weekly session.
"We're ready to go. No stone left unturned. Magandang laban ito (This would be a good fight) and could be a preview of what's in store for the SEA Games,' said Kho.
Team PH bets are Filipino-American sprinters Eric Cray (gold, 400-meter hurdles), Kayla Richardson (gold, 100m; bronze, 200m), Kyla Richardson (silver, 200m), Robyn Brown (bronze, 400m hurdles), and homegrown Clinton Kingsley Bautista (gold, 110m hurdles); Hocket delos Santos (silver, pole vault), Janry Ubas (silver, long jump; bronze, decathlon), Aries Toledo (silver, decathlon), Mark Harry Diones (silver, triple jump), Christine Hallasgo (silver, marathon), Sarah Dequinan (silver, heptathlon), Jelly Dianne Paragile (bronze, 100m hurdles), Joida Gagnao (bronze, 3000m steeplechase), Evalyn Palabrica (bronze, javelin throw), Alfrence Braza (bronze, 1500m), Melvin Calano (bronze, javelin throw), Sonny Wagdos (5000m); and Edgardo Aljean, Bernalyn Bejoy, Joyme Sequita and Jessel Lumapas (bronze, 4x400m mixed relay).
Fil-Ams Alyana Nicolas (pole vault) and Umajesty Williams (200m and 400m) are also competing along with athletes from the national training pool, collegiate leagues and standouts from the Palarong Pambansa and Batang Pinoy.
Philippine Sports Commission chair Richard Bachmann will be the guest of honor while long jump queen Elma Muros-Posadas will carry the torch during the opening ceremony at Ilagan City Sports Complex
Source: Philippines News Agency