The 83-year-old basketball coliseum inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Vito Cruz, Manila.
PSC chair: Rizal Memorial Sports Complex ready to host key sports in SEA Games
Dante Navarro ( - November 25, 2019 - 3:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Sports Commission on Sunday brushed aside concerns over the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex’s readiness to host key sports in the 30th SEA Games set to blast off in grand rites at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan this Saturday, saying everything is set, complete and ready for use by the athletes.

“We’re on target,” PSC Chairperson Butch Ramirez said.

“We gave the people an assurance that we will finish the competition areas on top and our various teams in the PSC did their jobs well. They delivered,” he added.

Football kicked off hostilities at the country’s oldest sporting complex with the Philippines’ Azkals U-23 squad launching its medal drive against Cambodia at press time at the RMSC football stadium.

The newly renovated Rizal Memorial Coliseum, site of the many classic cage wars, will host gymnastics, which will feature recent world artistic gold medalist Carlos Yulo, while the Ninoy Aquino Stadium will stage weightlifting competitions which Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is expected to dominate.

Lawn tennis and soft tennis will be played at the RMSC tennis courts wushu and karatedo will also be held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum along with taekwondo, one of the many sports tipped to deliver the gold for the host nation.

Ramirez, meanwhile, clarified that the squash competition, originally set at the RMSC, is traditionally held at the Manila Polo Club.

For the rehabilitation of the various PSC-owned facilities, Ramirez thanked the PAGCOR (Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp.) for the P800-million aid, which was used to renovate the various venues.

“The PAGCOR aid was the biggest boost to our drive in rehabilitating our venues. PAGCOR Chairman Andrea Domingo made sure that money was spent well, wisely and prudently,” said Ramirez.

These facilities, he added, were not originally intended for use of the SEA Games hosting.

The PHISGOC (Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee) wanted all sports staged at the Subic and Clark complexes, including the newly built New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, which is owned and managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“But several of their facilities were not up to IF (International Federation) standards. And since the PSC-owned facilities have been used for international events many times in the past and have met the IF requirements, it was a no-brainer that some of the SEA Games events are hosted by our venues,” Ramirez said.

“These are very old venues, we admit. But the history that wraps every leaves and grass around these facilities speak of the heroism of our athletes. We deemed it right to put the venues back in their original forms,” he added.

While the PHISGOC is in charge of running the whole SEA Games affair, Ramirez made sure the training of the Filipino athletes competing in the biennial meet was funded well by the agency tasked by the government to look after their welfare.

“We have spent more than a billion pesos for the athletes' training alone. We are not looking just at the SEA Games, we are also funding their training for possible Olympic slots, in Tokyo and beyond,” said Ramirez.

The PSC chief said the agency will be a support group to the PHISGOC, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the various national sports associations under it in ensuring the country's successful hosting of the SEA Games.

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