The construction of two modern sports facilities is now underway at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, as the Philippines gears up to host the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
Along with the new infrastructure is a new program named 'Siklab Alab' to help Pinoy athletes develop their game for upcoming international meets.
As part of the country’s preparations to hold the biennial meet, the organizing committee has spearheaded the groundbreaking ceremony for the aquatics center and the track stadium in the developing community, Tuesday afternoon.
“These are the first 2 major projects but, there are a lot more sports facilities that we're gonna be building here, in Subic, Zambales, and Bulacan,” 2019 SEA Games Organizing Committee chairman and Deparment of Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in an interview with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News.
According to the architects, the planned facilities will employ the latest in design, but will still be distinctly Filipino.
“The track oval was inspired by the caldera the mouth of Pinatubo,” Royal Pineda of the BUDJI+ROYAL architecture firm said. “The aquatics has Capiz [as an inspiration] so it’s still very Filipino but modern and high tech.”
For Budji Layug, the plan was simple: “To follow what is globally out there that is world class, but then what we did as BUDJI+ROYAL is that we want to bring a modern Filipino sensibility.”
While the venues are yet to be completed, Cayetano says they already have a purpose once the regional meet is done.
The developed facilities over at Clark New City will have a new life as a world-class training hub for athletes both from the Philippines, and all over the globe.
“We want this place with a lot of athletes from all over the world they can stay here and train especially during the winter months,” Cayetano said.
The excitement brought upon by the new facilities however, is only a second priority for the Filipino athletes who are hard at work for the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia this August, as a stepping stone for the SEA Games, and beyond.
According to Philippine Sports Committee chairman Butch Ramirez, the Filipino athletes will undergo a special program called ‘Siklab Alab’, a project that aims to train athletes holistically in order to help the Philippines bring him the elusive Olympic gold medal as soon as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“We want to win that first Olympic gold,” Ramirez said. “We have a chance with weighlifting, judo boxing taekwando, archery, windsurfing, surfing, cycling, track and field and swimming.”
Under ‘Siklab Alab’, nearly 30 of the Philippines’ best athletes will be given greater focus and financial backing as they train for the Olympiad.
“Initially we got commitment from corporations for P1 Billion but we are still getting more,” Presidential Adviser on Sports, Dennis Uy bared.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.