Manila: A total of 158 athletes and coaches were hospitalised after they allegedly suffered food and water poisoning prior to the official start of a national competition in central Philippines on Monday, a local paper said.

The athletes and coaches were brought to Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital after they complained of fever, dizziness, headache diarrhea, and vomiting on April 17, the Manila Bulletin said in a belated report.

A total of 12,000 participants in the week-long National Athletes Meet arrived in Dumaguete City on April 14.

A catering company and a water-distributing firm that supplied water to athletes and coaches were investigated for the incident.

Those who were discharged from the hospital participated in a parade that marked the start of the national sports event in Dumaguete City last Sunday.

Although seven more athletes were hospitalised last Saturday, organisers said the illness had been contained.

Organisers said they would continue plans to form the largest human peace sign during the sports event, in a bid to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.