The Henry Sy-led SM Group is planning to build more winter sport facilities in line with the completion of a new ice skating rink in the newly opened Building D of an SM mall in Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.
Now considered as the biggest SM mall in the Philippines, SM Megamall in Ortigas was expanded with a new wing and a new ice skating rink that can accommodate 900 people.
In a statement, the SM Group said it will be introducing one form of speed skating called short-track speed skating. Short-track speed skating will add to SM’s winter sports roster which currently include figure skating and ice hockey.
Raymund Retumban, division manager at the Ice Skating Rink Operations of SM, said that short-track speed skating is very similar to a marathon on ice, and is widely popular in other Asian countries like Singapore, Korea and Japan.
“SM has stepped up in developing its leisure product offerings by providing state-of-the-art facilities, especially in support of the Filipino athlete,” he added.
Manuelito Resultay, operations manager at the Ice Skating Rink of SM, said that short-track speed skating is similar to figure skating, but has longer skates and uses a race format with 50-, 1,000- or 1,500-meter events.
“Initially we would like to tap our ice hockey team for this, but eventually we hope to develop new talents,” he said.
The rink will also be open to the public for speed skating, which will follow the standard rates of P300 on weekdays and P390 on weekends.
For his part, Philippine Skating Union (PhSU) President Manuel Veguillas 3rd said that to further develop speed skating in the Philippines, the organization will be bringing in coaches from South Korea and Japan where the sport is quite advanced.
“Part of our jurisdiction at the Philippine Skating Union is to develop skating in the Philippines, not only through figure skating but speed skating as well. In the international arena, they develop both. When we hosted the Asian Skating Union Congress in the Philippines on November 21, 2013, we had a lot of discussions among our international counterparts and generally, everybody wanted to develop speed skating because it hasn’t been developed in our region,” Veguillas said.
“There is a lot of potential for short-track and we are happy that SM is supporting this. This is a unique opportunity for the Philippines,” he added.
Through the years, PhSU, with the support of SM, have conducted several figure skating competitions that give birth to international champions.
PhSU organizes the national figure skating competitions to promote the sport and to select future competitors who will represent the Philippines in reputable international events.
In 1992, SM Group built the country’s first ice skating rink in SM Megamall.