The government plans to build the country’s first-ever Philippine High School for Sports in New Clark City where training sports facilities are world-class level and professionally built.
The announcement was made through a huge tarpaulin set up near the entrance of the newly built city.
In preparation for the 30th SEA Games, the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) developed a sports hub in Capas, Tarlac that covers 9,450 hectares of land as the main venue of the event, which is now known as the New Clark City.
It has a nine-lane track and field oval athletic stadium, to which 20,000 can sit in, and the Aquatics Center that can house a 10-lane competition pool, diving pool, and an eight-lane training pool. These facilities are known to follow international standards.
There is also an “Athletes’ Village” which houses participants of SEA Games.
New Clark City’s Philippine High School for Sports
The president of BCDA and presidential adviser for flagship programs and projects Vivencio Dizon said in an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin Lifestyle that national athletes will get to access these facilities after the SEA Games.
According to Dizon, several government officials have filed a bill that seeks to create the school for sports.
“Right now, we have the Philippine Science High School, we have the Philippine High School for the Arts, but we don’t have a Philippine High School for Sports,” he says.
Once passed, the school will look for athletes across the country. They will be granted six (6) years of full scholarship that will cover junior and senior high school, inclusive of free boarding and lodging at the Athletes’ Village.
“This is going to be a fully subsidized high school from junior to senior, where we will have scholars who will be recruited through the Philippine Sports Commission and from the Department of Education,” he further explained.
“They are going to be our top age groupers for all the sports—athletics, aquatics, football, gymnastics, boxing, all these other sports. They will also have access to the facilities here.”
He is hoping that the bill will be passed before the year ends so that they can start developing the school to be used by the school year 2021-2022.
Filipino loves sports
Local athletes bagging international awards in competitions in different sports like boxing, weightlifting, figure skating, and more have been in the news lately. This not only shows talent but also passion.
However, for years, national athletes have been expressing their sentiments as well as disappointment over the lack of support for funding from the government — a fund that would help them train better and join competitions internationally.
Due to a lack of financial support and opportunities in the country, some athletes choose to represent other countries in competitions. One example is the international chess champion Wesley So. He was born in Cavite, and recently became the first winner of World Fischer Random Chess Championship, wherein he represented the United States.
Aside from the lack of financial support, athletes also face a lack of training facilities and professional coaches. It becomes a major factor why some choose to train abroad, just like Carlos Yulo who stayed in Japan to experience world-class facilities and professional coaches. Carlos Yulo is a gymnast and World Championship gold medalist.
He also represents the country in SEA Games where he bagged two gold and several silver medals, for a total of seven wins.