MANILA – With less than a month to go before the 30th Southeast Asian Games unfolds, all eyes are on the newly-built New Clark City (NCC) Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac.
The 20,000-seater Athletics Stadium, which was certified as a Class 1 facility by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has a nine-lane main track plus indoor and outdoor warm-up tracks equipped with the IAAF-approved Rekortan M sandwich synthetic surface system.
Looking at the world-class stadium made national athletics team head coach Sean Guevarra want to be an athlete again.
“When I first saw the new facility, I wanted to be an athlete again,” said Guevarra, a national record-holder in high jump.
“During our time, we didn’t have this kind of equipment. I wanted to train again,” added Guevarra, whose team has been training at the NCC since September for the SEA Games which the country will host for the fourth time from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
Aside from Athletic Stadium, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) also constructed Aquatic Center inside the NCC Sports Hub for the biennial meet. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) also certified it as Class 1 facility.
The materials used in the Athletics Stadium main track were manufactured and installed by Polytan, which also provided the synthetic surfaces for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and other international sports competitions. Polytan is a part of Sportgroup, brands dedicated to sport surfaces with the most installed running tracks globally, 350 of which are in Asia Pacific.
To get their state-of-the-art materials, MTD Philippines commissioned Filipino-owned E-Sports International, a Sportgroup distributor, as a subcontractor for the installation of both the competition and warm-up tracks to ensure that both the base preparation and surface system installation met the IAAF Class 1 standards.
“I really hope that Filipino athletes can excel on these surfaces. That would really be the icing on the cake for us: to see them starting to set world records or at least national records on the track,” said Sportgroup Asia General Manager Shaun Goudie.
To further enhance the world-class track, MTD Philippines donated the SmarTracks digital diagnostics technology, which provides accurate time registration and performance analyses. The package includes 99 SmarTracks timing gates, which E-Sports International installed on the stadium’s warm-up track to pick up the precise measurements of runners who would wear sensor belts.
“All athletes, especially ours, deserve to compete on a level playing field -- and it all starts with quality surfaces. We thank MTD Philippines for enlisting us as part of this endeavor,” said Audris Romualdez, E-Sports International Managing Director.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, also Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chairperson, along with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino and MTD Philippines President Patrick Nicholas David formally received the IAAF certification on October 16.
“We demand excellent output from our athletes when they compete for world championships. But if we don’t give them a facility that they can use, how do we expect them to actually compete at the elite level?,” said David.
MTD Philippines is the partner of the BCDA developing the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City. (PNA)