TARLAC, Philippines – The special needs of para athletes have been top of mind as the New Clark City, where the 10th ASEAN Para Games will be held in 2020, nears its completion.
Specific adjustments will be made in the planned community in Capas, Tarlac, particularly in the Athletes' Village with the construction of rooms tailor-made for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
For example, instead of having the usual hinge doors in comfort rooms, sliding doors will be put to cater to para athletes using wheelchairs.
Here are photos of the rooms in the Athletes' Village. Bathrooms are para athlete-friendly, especially to those using wheelchairs, thanks to the sliding doors. But officials acknowledge there are still improvements to be made for the needs of para athletes. @dioquinodelfin pic.twitter.com/dYXjNck8jC — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) January 18, 2019
Elevators will also be installed in all buildings of the Athletes' Village, and they will be equipped with braille and speaking systems for the visually impaired.
"We're designing the facilities to be accessible for everybody, not just for regular athletes, but also for para athletes," said MTD Philippines president Nicholas David, who oversees the operations in the New Clark City.
Members of the ASEAN Para Sports Federation took the trip to Tarlac on Friday, January 18, for the ocular of the Athletes' Village and they each had their suggestions to make the place more accessible for para athletes.
"We are designing it to be very inclusive. We've taken all comments during this visit, they're recommending a few things that we add so that it will be very accessible," added David.
All facilities in the New Clark City – the athletic stadium, aquatic center and Athletes' Village – are slated to finish by August 31, with the number of workers getting ramped up from 4,000 to 7,000 during peak of construction.
"We'll try to finish it earlier. Our actual deadline is October 15, we want to finish it by August 31 to make sure that if we miss out something, we have time to rectify," David said.
Practice games will start in September or October before the 30th SEA Games unfolds from November 30 to December 11.
The ASEAN Para Games will then follow in January, which will be held in the Philippines for only the second time since 2005. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.