Peping wants Phl to bid for ’19 Asiad
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco said yesterday that the country should give the hosting of the 2019 Asian Games a shot and he’s confident it could pull it off.

“Kaya natin ‘yan (We can do it),” said Cojuangco of the ambitious plan of the country hosting the Asian Games only for the second time since 1954 or 60 years ago.

The next Asian Games was originally set in 2018. But the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has decided to move it to a year before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Vietnam won the right to host the 2019 Asiad over Indonesia, and after Dubai and the United Arab Emirates scrapped their own bids to host the event.

Then last April, Vietnam backed out as host, giving up the chance to host the Games for the first time in history. The Vietnamese cited the lack of time to prepare well for the hosting as the reason.

Indonesia, which hosted the Asian Games in 1962, may have the upperhand now. But the OCA has opened the doors to new bids to come in until next month.

The new host of the 2019 Asiad will be known in September.

Cojuangco said the Philippines, which hosted and emerged overall champion of the Southeast Asian Games in 2005, can give it a try.

“It’s still open,” said the POC president, who mentioned the brand-new 55,000-seat Philippine Arena as possibly the main venue.

The Philippine Arena, owned by Iglesia ni Kristo (INC), is located in Bocaue and Santa Maria in Bulacan, which is very close to Manila. It cost $213 million or P9 billion to build.

In its official website, the Philippine Arena, which will host the INC’s grand celebration next month, can host sporting events like basketball, boxing, tennis or gymnastics but not soccer or any field events like track and field.

Still, Cojuangco thinks that with over four years before the Games, things can be worked out.

Cojuangco said he recently spoke to an (INC) official and was told the owners are also planning of building quarters within the 75-hectare eco-tourism zone.

Cojuangco did not elaborate but he may be thinking of putting up satellite venues for the games, including Manila or even in the provinces like Laguna, Bacolod and Cebu, like what the country did during the 2005 SEA Games.

The POC president said it’s just a matter of getting the needed support from the national government.

“So we can get the approval,” said Cojuangco, who said the Philippines has endeared itself to OCA members when it successfully hosted the OCA General Assembly and the Asian Games centennial celebration earlier this year.

The Philippines won the hearts of the OCA members for hosting the event despite the Yolanda tragedy.

“With our popularity now (among the OCA), hindi nila tayo tatanggihan (they will not say no to us,” said Cojuangco.

 

ASIAD ASIAN GAMES BACOLOD AND CEBU BOCAUE AND SANTA MARIA BUT THE OLYMPIC COUNCIL OF ASIA COJUANGCO DUBAI AND THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES GAMES GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND THE ASIAN GAMES PHILIPPINE ARENA
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