When it comes to the highest medal ever won by the Philippines in the Summer Olympic Games, it has always been silver but never the gold. The fact that not even once was the country able to claim the highest athletic achievement in a major international sporting event like the Olympics has rankled national committees and commissions for decades. Insufficient performance by Filipino Olympians can be traced to the country not having quality training facilities for them, aside from funding problems and lack of people support. On the subject of training facilities however, the Philippines can perhaps finally answer that.
CNN Philippines reports that there will soon be new sports facilities available to be used for the training of world-competition athletes and teams that can go all the way in the Olympics. These facilities have been under construction since last year in New Clark City, Tarlac according to Vivencio Dizon, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The organization oversees the development of the land formerly belonging to the various US military bases in the Philippines, and New Clark City falls within the Special Economic Zone that had once been Clark Airbase before 1991.
Dizon remarks that the under-construction training facilities, all to be certified as world-class, will be the key to both properly train and inspire future Filipino athletes that will be ready to stand against the world’s finest in international competition. “We’ve demanded so much from our athletes to train and to give all they have to get us that elusive medal in the Olympics and in other international sporting events,” he said. “But the problem is government hasn’t really given the support that our athletes desperately need.” These facilities, falling under one sports complex, are projected to be ready by August.
And that would be just in time to see their first major use. Athletes can immediately train there for two more months before the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which will be hosted by the Philippines, will begin on November. That regional sporting meet will become the baptism of fire for the New Clark City sports complex, which will include a stadium for a variety of events, an aquatic center for swimming and diving, and an athletes’ village capable of hosting up to 500 sportsmen who will make use of them.
It is hoped that this new sports complex will further improve training for Filipino athletes and increase their chances of going for the gold. Since their debut in the 1924 Olympics the Philippines has only ever won three silver and seven bronze medals in total. The next Summer Games are in Tokyo next year, with Rio 2016 silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz competing again in weightlifting.
Image courtesy of unTV