Asian swimming tilt to put New Clark City back to international stage

The upcoming 11th Asian Age Group Championships happening from December 3 to 14 will once again put a spotlight on New Clark City’s world-class sports facilities and put the city on the global map as a prime venue for sporting events.

During a recent press conference in Tagaytay City, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Senior Vice President for Corporate Services Arrey A. Perez said the Asian championships will give the Philippines a chance to showcase the New Clark City sports complex and promote the facilities to the 45 members of the Asia Swimming Federation (AASF).

“Itong paghohost natin ng swimming championships na ito will help us in marketing to the 45 national federations that are members of the Asia Swimming Federation. So kasama diyan ‘yong tinutulungan nila tayo (AASF) mag-market. (Our hosting of this swimming championships will help us in marketing to the 45 national federations that are members of the Asia Swimming Federation. So this includes [AASF’s] assistance in marketing [our facilities]),” Perez said.

According to the BCDA official, AASF Secretary General Taha S. Al Kishry had expressed intent to continue promoting New Clark City and entice more federations to hold their swimming meets here.

“They would like to keep on promoting New Clark City because it’s one of the best facilities in the world, among (those) that they’ve seen. Sa Asia talagang pinopromote nila kasi they want to have more competitions, particularly dito sa Southeast Asia kasi di masyado nagkakaroon dito. (They are really promoting here in Asia because they want to have more competitions, particularly in Southeast Asia as there aren’t a lot of competitions held here),” the BCDA official said. 

Perez said the Asian Age Group Championships could also serve as a trial to determine if New Clark City is also capable of hosting the World Aquatics Championships. 

“If we can do this, I think with more experience, we’re not just dreaming of Asian Championships, baka World Championships pa ang isusunod natin dyan (maybe we can host the World Championships next),” he said. 

Jojit Alcazar, the president and chief executive officer of the Organizing Committee of the 11st Asian Swimming Championships, echoed Perez’s statement, noting that representatives from the World Aquatics will be present during the event for the AASF elections.

“The president of World Aquatics will be invited to attend. So all stakeholders will be here in December. It’s time for us to showcase the venue in the hopes of hosting bigger events in the future,” he said.

The 11th Asian Age Group Championships will include four aquatic disciplines, namely swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic swimming. It will also serve as a qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

Alcazar said this edition of the Asian Age Group Championships is targeted to be the biggest, with about 1,400 expected participants from over 40 countries. It is also expected to boost local tourism, with an estimated 5,000 foreign visitors and 35,000 local tourists. 

Perez highlighted New Clark City’s readiness to host events, armed with well-maintained facilities and gained experiences from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and the multiple local tournaments it hosted in the past year.

“Our venue, they’re considered world-class facilities. The Aquatics Center is certified by FINA (now World Aquatics), and the Athletics Stadium is certified by IAAF (now World Athletics)…They are well maintained, we’ve maintained their categories as Class 1, very clean, and we’ve made some improvements when it comes to ensuring that the events that are being hosted are done in a more efficient manner,” Perez said. 

The sports complex has hosted a total of 38 local sporting events and 37 training camps since New Clark City reopened to the public in May 2023 from the pandemic-driven lockdowns.

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