CAPAS, Tarlac—The stamp of approval came no less from the Fédération internationale de natation (Fina), swimming’s world governing body.
The swimming pool at New Clark City Aquatics Center is a world-class facility.
Philippine Swimming Incorporated president Lani Velasco said Fina gave the thumbs up Sunday after she submitted accreditation papers to Fina officials who checked on the swimming pool that will be used for the 30th Southeast Asian Games that will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
“It needs just a little bit more of finishing touches but the place is ready, the venue—the Aquatics Center—is working,” said Velasco. “The venue is ready.”
She added the swimming pool area and the bleachers are good to go even if the SEA Games were to be held now.
The Aquatics Center is undergoing its first test with the Philippine National Open Swimming Championships currently being held here.
At the nearby New Clark City Athletics Stadium, the weekly relays of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association was also giving the track oval a test.
The two events were being held to audition hopefuls for the national team and to test the newly-built venues that will be used for the country’s hosting of the SEA Games.
“We’re still coming out with the selection maybe on Sept. 10 or 12,” said Velasco. “You’d be surprised with the results come December, but we do have a lot of swimmers with potential.”
Velasco added that the national team, once it’s formed, would be stationed at the nearby Athletes’ Village here a month before the Games.
Velasco said the country’s hosting would provide an additional boost for Filipino athletes in the 11-nation biennial meet.
“Hearing the crowd cheering for you while you’re swimming for your country, there’s always a homecourt advantage this SEA Games,” said Velasco.
The National tracksters will also be billeted in the Athletes’ Village and will be entitled to use the two outdoor track ovals and an indoor warm-up course during their stay in the facility that the Bases Conversion and Development Authority built.
BCDA president Vince Dizon and Patafa president Philip Juico discussed the living conditions for the athletes and both agreed that the setup would be for the benefit of the national team heading into the biennial Games.
“Not only will our athletes use the facilities but they would also live in the Athletes’ Village three months prior to the SEA Games,” said Dizon .
“All the things they need will be provided by the Patafa, Phisgoc (Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee), and the BCDA so we can give an advantage to our athletes,” added Dizon.
Arrey Perez, the deputy director for the Athletes’ Village, added that the Athletics Stadium would also be tested by athletes from Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, who will test the mettle of Filipinos preparing for the SEA Games.
“We will be inviting athletes from other nations, not just from Southeast Asia, to test the stadium and also see where our national athletes are in their progress,” said Perez.
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