Preparations for the 30th Southeast Asian Games is in full swing with the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) identifying 80 percent of the competition venues.
Phisgoc senior deputy director general Tom Carrasco yesterday said they have already chosen the competition venues of 39 out of 56 sports with still a year left before the country hosts the prestigious biennial meet starting 30 November.
Based on Phisgoc’s blueprint, the New Clark City Stadium in Capas, Tarlac will serve as the main hub and host of centerpiece athletics and aquatics while fan-favorite basketball competitions will be at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Men’s football competition will be at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and women’s football in Binan, Laguna together with the volleyball competitions, which was moved from the Araneta Coliseum to Alonte Sports Center.
Combat sports like taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, judo and karate will share the SMX Convention Center while boxing and kickboxing will be moved to a different venue.
Tagaytay and Subic are also being strongly considered as they have the capability to host cycling and triathlon events, respectively.
Carrasco admitted that identifying possible venues remains a work in progress but they are working doubly hard to finalize the list as soon as possible.
“Our list of venues is still a work in progress. Actually, we’re already in our eighth version,” said Carrasco, the former Philippine Olympic Committee chairman and long-time president of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines.
“It’s not easy to ‘finalize’ the list of venues because there’s still a negotiation process, which can be very tricky. But so far we’ve already identified where we would put 39 of the 56 sports that we are set to host.”
Despite uncertainty over funding following legislators’ decision to lodge the P7.5-billion SEA Games budget under the account of the Philippine Sports Commission, Phisgoc has been working doubly hard to come up with the biggest, grandest staging of the biennial meet.
In fact, key members of the organizing body had to work through the holidays as they enter the last 11 months of their preparation.
Carrasco said they have set the deadline for entry by number on 15 March so they will have an idea on the number of athletes, coaches and officials from 10 other countries to take part in the region’s biggest sportsfest.
As soon as they receive the entries by number, they will immediately prepare the delegates’ transportation and accommodation, which will be at the athletes’ village inside the main hub.
“We’re working double time,” Carrasco said. “We’ll provide more updates soon.”