The Philippines has learned its lesson from being a three-time host of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games when it had to cram to finish all venues for the region’s showcase sports extravaganza.
Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) members Ramon “Chito” Manuel and Mike Verano on Friday gave assurances that all facilities would be completed in time for the kickoff in November this year of the 30th SEA Games, unlike in 1981, 1991 and 2005 editions of the tournament when construction of arenas were completed at the last minute.
Manuel, Phisgoc’s venues operations manager, and Verano, cluster head of Metro Manila venues, announced in the weekly Scoop sports forum that the arenas for the Games would all be completed at least a month before the opening ceremonies three months from now.
“Like what the contractors promised before work started, all venues in all clusters (Clark, Subic, Metro Manila and others) will be finished before the end of September or early October,” the two Phisgoc officials said.
“Playing venues at the main hub in the New Clark City [in Tarlac], particularly the main stadium where athletics (track and filed) and aquatics (swimming, diving and water polo) will be held are 93 percent complete,” Manuel said.
“The competition oval in track and field, including warm-up track, is also ready for use,” he added. “Members of our athletics team have, in fact, tested its high Olympic standard.”
Venues for other water sports events like canoe/kayak, dragon boat, open water swimming, sailing, wind surfing and rowing, as well as beach volleyball and beach handball, are also ready for use, the venue operations manager said.
Verano said existing facilities in Metro Manila, like the old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Ultra, Filoil Flying V Gym and Cuneta Astrodome, and sites for 3×3 basketball, kickboxing and cue sports are undergoing minor renovation.
The men’s and women’s 5×5 basketball games are scheduled at the posh Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“Those outside the Big City such as Tagaytay City for cycling, Miguel Romero Sports Club/Zobel Farm Polo Field, Biñan Football Stadium, Los Baños Centro Mall [will also be ready],” Verano said.
The 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, where the opening rites will be held, is all set, too, he added.