Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who heads the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, has repeatedly been hyping up the potential of the Philippines to tap into multi-billion dollar sports tourism industry. His predictions, as well as those of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vivencio Dizon, were spot on. As soon as now, two days into the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, several international teams have already begun expressing their interest in tapping the newly established sports facilities in New Clark City to train for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
According to Dizon, several foreign teams have expressed their strong interest in using the sports facilities in Clark to continue their training for the Olympics. The venues in New Clark City are currently being used for the track and field and water sports events of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. The facilities also boast a world-class athlete’s village which comes with its own wade poop, gym, cafeteria, basketball court, and rooms to cater to hundreds of guests. Several other venues around Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces, including the near-century old Rizal Memorial Stadium, have been renovated to bring them back to their glory days for the Games.
“Right now, we have already been getting feelers from countries abroad who want to train in the New Clark City in preparation for Tokyo 2020 because they have to acclimatize, they have to practice in the heat, and they have to get used to the time zone. They’re already approaching us,” Dizon said to press on Monday.
The interested teams are reportedly from Central and Eastern Europe. The difference in training conditions between those regions and Asia mean that they gain a competitive edge by finishing their training in a similar country to the competition venue, like the Philippines.
New Clark City’s athletic’s stadium has a seating capacity of 20,000. The aquatic center has an eight-lane training pool and a 10-lane Olympic pool for competitions. The water facilities are built with steel and PVC lining of the same caliber used during the 2012 London Olympics. The aquatics center, which can host dry diving, holds global FINA certification.
Earlier today, the Olympic Council of Asia expressed how it was “very impressed” with the Philippines’ hosing of the 2019 SEA Games and urged the country to bid for the 2030 Asian Games.
BCDA chief Dizon also said that the possibility of hosting the Asian Swimming Championships in New Clark City has also been swimming around.
Even without foreign interest in the facilities, they are planned for continued good use. Speaker Cayetano and Senator Bong Go, both vocal advocates of sports, have proposed measures in their respective chambers seeking to establish a National Academy for Sports in New Clark City. Similar to other government education programs, the Academy would highlight the many benefits sports give the youth, especially the values instilled by the practice of sport.