Athletes witness construction of world-class facilities for 2019 SEA Games
Capas, Tarlac—More than 150 national athletes visited New Clark City, Friday, to see the construction progress of the New Clark City Sports Complex that will be used for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2019.
Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go led the event. Mr. Go is an avid basketball player whose role was significant in sending Gilas Pilipinas, the national basketball team, to the Asian Games. Joining them were two-time Asian Games gold medalist and Olympic runner Lydia De Vega-Mercado and swimmer Eric Buhain, who also won medals in previous SEA Games.
“These facilities are long overdue. Kaya binabalik lang po ni Pangulong Duterte ang dapat sa inyo,” Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said to the more than 150 athletes present.
The sports facilities are part of the Phase 1A development of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City, which is envisioned to be the main hub of Philippine sports. It will house the Athletics Stadium which has a 20,000-seating capacity, Aquatics Center which can accommodate 2,000 people, and an Athletes’ Village.
The Athletics Stadium will have a 400-meter standard track and a nine-lane world-class track and field facility. Its design is inspired from the crater of Mt. Pinatubo, the contours of the Sierra Madre ranges, and the festive details of the parols (Christmas lanterns) of Pampanga.
Meanwhile, the Aquatics Center will have an eight-lane training pool, a 10-lane competition pool, and a diving pool with a five-meter maximum depth.
Both the Athletics Stadium and the Aquatics Center meet global standards of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA), respectively.
The Athletes’ Village will serve as home of the athletes, officials, and international volunteers for the entire duration of the 2019 SEA Games. It will have 525 rooms, 95 of which are for PWDs, gym amenities, kitchen and dining areas, conference rooms, and other recreational facilities.
“The fast construction of the sports facilities proves that the government is committed to enhance sports development in the country so we can produce more world-class athletes, and host international sporting events in the future,” Cayetano said.
Athletes got to see the model units inside the Athletes' Village.
Speaking in behalf of the athletes, Cheska Altomonte, captain of the Philippine Women's Softball Team said, “Up until 11 this morning, this complex was a bedtime story to us. It was a fairytale. We never believed it was actually real. We are very excited. We are very inspired to train harder than ever.”
“Because you promised this to us, this is our promise to you. We promise to train hard and train smart. We promise to respect the facilities to keep it clean. We promise to embody Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence. Once you deliver this to us, we will deliver back. We promise to win,” she added.
Swimmer Jessie Lacuna meanwhile expressed gratitude for organizing the athletes’ visit.
“It's very exciting for us to represent the country in the SEA Games. Makakaasa po kayo na sa lahat ng pinaghirapan niyo, makapag-produce rin kami and makapag-perform ng maayos for next year’s games,” Lacuna said.
At the core of the said development is the 1.4-kilometer River Park Corridor for people to have a sense of harmony with nature. The corridor will have bikeways, jogging paths, open amphitheaters, and spots for community activities such as yoga and zumba.
“Last January this property was bare land. Now, you can see for yourselves that we are on track in fully transforming Clark as the main hub of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Expect these facilities to be completed by September next year,” said BCDA President and CEO Vivencio Dizon.
Future developments like a high-performance gym, sports museum, and a tertiary level hospital, are also envisioned to complete the New Clark City sports complex.
The NGAC is the first phase in building New Clark City. Aside from the sports facilities, it will have satellite offices of government agencies that will serve as back-up for continuity in case of disasters and calamities.