CAPAS, Tarlac – With a little over a year left before the Philippines’ 2019 Southeast Asian Games hosting, a new national sports complex is set to rise for the first time in over 80 years.
The New Clark City Sports Complex, which is slated to finish by August 2019, will become the country’s first world-class sports facility since the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila was built in 1934.
Located in Tarlac, the 9,500-hectare development includes: A 20,000-seater athletics stadium, a 2,000-seater aquatics center and an athletes’ village with commercial banks and restaurants that has 310 PWD-friendly units.
Designed by architect Royal Pineda, the stadiums were made out of local materials to showcase the Filipino identity.
“This is actually an architecture designed to be very organic, it also based on the nature of the athletes,” said Pineda.
“So basically this is all designed for you (athletes), for all the Filipino athletes and we wanted to keep the concept of modernity and always be rooted as Filipino.”
Organic lahar concrete will be used for the construction of the athletics stadium while the aquatics center pays tribute to the country’s coastal heritage as the iconic roof structure is patterned after a “baklad” or a woven fish net.
On Friday, November 23, Filipino national athletes – including legends Lydia de Vega and Eric Buhain – visited the construction site and were impressed with the development.
“A new complex was a bedtime story for us, it was a fairytale, we never believed it was actually real, so now that we are actually seeing all the things here, we’re really excited,” said Philippine Athletes’ Commission secretary general and Blu Girls captain Cheska Altomonte.
Just a day after getting enshrined in the Philippine Sports Commission Hall of Fame, sprint queen Lydia de Vega reminded athletes that they have to work harder for the country given the new facilities for them to train better.
“To all of us Filipino athletes, I know you’re really happy that we have all these kinds of facilities now that the government has given to us,” said De Vega.
“Next year is Southeast Asian Games so good luck to everyone, so it’s time to work harder and aim for that goal.”
For former Philippine Sports Commission president and swimming great Eric Buhain, seeing and listening to the big plans of New Clark City for sports brought back good memories of his time as a multi-gold medalist.
“I wish I was a swimmer today,” said the Olympian.
“I’m very excited for the current crop of swimmers to be using the facility. I think that it’s going to be very inspirational for them, it’s going to be encouraging at the very least." – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.