Pinoy athletes all praises for New Clark City sports facilities

World-class!

This sums up what two Filipino athletes who won gold in the ongoing Southeast Asian (SEA) Games think about the country’s newly built sports facilities in New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac.

Olympics-bound pole vaulter EJ Obiena and long-distance runner Christine Hallasgo were all praises for the sprawling sports complex, which is hosting athletics and swimming events in the biennial games that will run until Wednesday, December 11. It will also be the venue for the closing ceremonies of what has been described as the biggest SEA Games to date.

Inside the complex sits the 14,000-meter Athletics Stadium, which has been given Class 1 Certification by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The NCC sports complex likewise features the 2,000-seating capacity Aquatics Center, which has likewise been certified by the world aquatics governing body, Fédération Internationale De Natation (FINA) as fully compliant with global standards.

Meanwhile, athletes from the 11-nation games are also being given proper accommodations at the 2,100-bed Athletes’ Village.

“Masaya po ako na meron na po tayong [world-class sports facilities] sa Pilipinas kasi malaking tulong po siya sa aming mga atleta,” said women’s marathon gold medalist Hallasgo in a Facebook video posted by former national athlete and now Senator Pia Cayetano.

“Ang mga facilities, lalong lalo na ang [track] oval, ang standard niya ay parang sa ibang bansa. Nakaka-inspire po mag-training kapag ang mga ginagamit namin na equipment ay world-class,” she added.

Men’s pole vault gold medalist and new SEA Games record holder  EJ Obiena also had great things to say about the country’s new sports facilities.

“First time ko pong makakita ng indoor track in Southeast Asia… It’s really a pride and honor to have these facilities in the country,” he said in the same video posted by Cayetano.

Obiena, who is set to represent the country in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has had the opportunity to train with the best coaches in modern sports facilities in Europe.

When asked how well our own facilities compared with the stadiums he trained and competed in abroad, Obiena replied:  “It’s world-class, like the best I’ve seen and played in in Europe. Now I can tell my friends to come and train with me!”

Cayetano, for her part, stressed the importance of sustaining government support for all Filipino athletes beyond this year’s hosting of the SEA Games.

“People forget that you are athletes 365 days a year. All-out support is really required all year round. Now, you have these training grounds available for you throughout the year,” she told Obiena and Hallasgo.

“I commit to you that I will continue to work with our decision-makers to find more ways to support our country’s athletes. Personally, that would also be a dream come true for me,” added Cayetano, who herself is a former national volleyball player.

The senator is among the authors and co-sponsors of Senate Bill No. 1086 or the ‘Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) Act,’ which seeks to establish a national academy for sports in the country that can train talented young athletes in their respective sports while still allowing them to pursue other educational tracks.

“We need to insist that sports is a priority [and] send a strong message to decision-makers, including my fellow legislators, [to] support our athletes and put in the funding… I hope that our fellow Filipinos also rally behind this initiative because I am such a believer of sports changing lives,” Cayetano stressed. #

SEA Games women’s marathon gold medalist Christine Hallasgo: “Masaya po ako na meron na tayong [world-class sports facilities] sa Pilipinas… malaking tulong po siya sa aming mga atleta.”
With SEA Games pole vault gold medalist EJ Obiena and his father and coach, Emerson Obiena, a former national athlete who also won medals for the Philippines in pole vault.

Pia: Support our athletes in the SEA Games – and beyond!

“Our slogan is very simple – ‘We win as one!’ Magkakasama tayo sa hirap at ginhawa. We don’t want our athletes to feel alone. We are together, we are supporting you.”

Senator Pia S. Cayetano had this message for Filipino athletes competing in the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which the Philippines will host from November 30 to December 11.

In a media interview at the New Clark City (NCC) sports complex in Capas, Tarlac, Cayetano stressed the importance of making national athletes feel that they are fully supported by government and the Filipino people. 

A member of the Philippine women’s volleyball team when she was in college, Cayetano visited over the weekend the newly built facilities of the sprawling sports complex, which would serve as the main hub for the 30th SEA Games. 

The senator also got to swim at the main pool of the Aquatics Center and run at the track oval of the Athletics Stadium, together with members of the Philippine triathlon team and training pool. Both facilities meet the standards of international governing bodies, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA). 

“Naging national athlete din ako, sa volleyball. Tandang-tanda ko pa, sa Rizal Stadium (in Manila) kami natutulog at gumigising around 4:30 to 5 am to run. Some of us, including myself, still have classes. So we have to have our training very early,” the senator recalled.

“The fact that we were going to represent our country, honor na ‘yun. Pero iba pa rin ang inspiration na makatakbo ka [in a world-class facility like this]. So here I am, decades after that opportunity to represent our country. When I see these facilities, I am so happy for our present generation of athletes,” she added.

Cayetano said that athletes trained in the proper environment have been proven to perform better. “Our athletes will be able to train and focus in the next few months in an inspired manner; in a way that they feel na suportado sila ng gobyerno, suportado sila ng mga Pilipino.”

The NCC is a flagship project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The complex consists of internationally accredited sports facilities like the Athletics Stadium, Aquatics Center, as well as an Athletes’ Village. 

The senator believes that the key to building a strong pool of athletes lies not just in providing the right facilities, but also the right vision and support.

“Without the vision, wala lahat ng sinabi ko. But with our President who really believes in molding the youth, in giving them a future, then I feel it can really happen.”

Cayetano also cited the importance of support that would come from the private sector and local communities. 

“If you are in the private sector at gusto mong mag-donate ng oras at resources mo, there are so many ways to support our athletes. Even the local communities, kasama po doon. Kaya lahat ng development dito [in NCC], very involved po ang local government ng buong Central Luzon,” noted Cayetano. 

“Ang importante, buhos ng support. Kasi the end-goal should not just be the SEA Games – may Asian Games pa, at may Olympics pa.”

“And I want to take this opportunity to highlight our very first Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and that is no other than our pole-vaulter, EJ [Ernest John] Obiena. His feat was recently accomplished in Italy. Congratulations sa ‘yo, EJ, isa kang inspirasyon!” she concluded. #

Senator Pia Cayetano trying out the track oval at the newly built 20,000-seater New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
Senator Pia Cayetano stands beside the main pool of the New Clark City Aquatics Center, which has received world-class certification from FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation), the world governing body in aquatic sports.
At the press conference announcing the New Clark City (NCC) Triathlon 2019 which will be held at the NCC sports complex from October 19 to 20. (L-R): Triathlete John “Rambo” Chicano, 
MTD Clark Inc. President Eng. Patrick Nicholas David, Senator Pia Cayetano, BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon, Triathlete Nikko Huelgas, Robinsons Land Corp. Assistant Marketing Director Kristynne Tan, and GoClark Sports & Events Director Jumbo Tayag.

Pia sees Philippine Sports High School rising in New Clark City

Senator Pia S. Cayetano now sees her long-time vision for the country to have its own sports academy moving closer to reality with the near completion of the New Clark City (NCC) sports complex in Capas, Tarlac.

At a press conference held Friday at the newly built NCC Aquatics Center, Cayetano said the sprawling complex could very well host the country’s first Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) that would train young, aspiring athletes for the national pool. 

“My dream ever since is for our athletes to be housed in, not just a dorm, but a family-run residential area kung saan may mga mag-aalaga sa kanila. And within these premises are the sports facilities that they would need to train in,” shared Cayetano, a former member of the national volleyball team and principal author of Senate Bill No. 506 seeking to establish the PHSS. 

“Now we have the opportunity – with the way the Sports Complex has been planned – for that to become a reality,” she added.

The NCC is a flagship project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which forms part of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program. 

Phase 1A of the NCC project involves a 40-hectare Sports Complex that will serve as the main hub of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which the country will host this year. 

The complex consists of world-class sports facilities, including an Athletics Stadium, an Aquatics Center, as well as an Athletes’ Village. 

“If you have a facility where [promising] student-athletes can be students and athletes at the same time, then that’s a win-win solution for building the future for these kids. They can excel in their craft, which is sports, pero hindi pa rin nila mapapabayaan ang education nila,” she explained. 

On the other hand, the senator stressed that it takes more than just investing in infrastructure to fully promote sports development among young Filipinos.

“What I feel is key here is not just the availability of the facilities, but the [overall] vision. Without the desire to see the benefit of investing in our youth or giving them this kind of facility, the right food, the right nutrition, and mentoring, our vision will not be a reality,” she stressed.

“But with a government that really believes in molding the youth, in giving them a future, then I feel it can really happen,” Cayetano added. 

In his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said he would support the move to create a national academy for sports for high school students.#

We win as one: House Speaker Alan Cayetano, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vince Dizon, and Senator Pia Cayetano at the New Clark City Aquatics Center. The newly built facility recently got accreditation from Fédération internationale de natation (FINA), the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competition in water sports.
Senator Pia S. Cayetano, who once donned the national tri-colors for volleyball, running with athletes at the brand new Athletics Stadium in New Clark City.