The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and Asia Swimming Federation (AASF) sealed a partnership on the country’s hosting of the 11th Asian Age Group Swimming Championships at the world-class New Clark City (NCC) Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac in November next year.
POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and AASF Secretary General Taha Sulaiman Al Kishry signed a memorandum of agreement for the hosting chores on Wednesday at the Aquatics Center where they were joined by Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and CEO Agnes VST Devenadera and Senior Vice President for Corporate Services Group Arrey Perez.
“I would like to thank the AASF for giving us the opportunity to host a big event like this,” Tolentino said. “It’s really hard to bid to host an international event like swimming.”
The AASF chose the Philippines over Thailand and Vietnam as host because of the world-class NCC facility in Tarlac.
More than 1,400 young swimmers from 42 Asian countries are expected to compete in the championships.
The continental competition is the second of two major international competitions after the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019 that will be staged in the FINA-standard swimming and diving pools
“With this kind of venue [NCC], we are lucky to be chosen,” said Tolentino, also head of PhilCycling and of Tagaytay City. “We, the POC, BCDA and PSI [Philippine Swimming Inc.] will work together to achieve a successful hosting.”
Also witnessing the ceremony were AASF technical committee head Ibrahim Naddeh, POC legal chief Wharton Chan and Secretary-General Bones Floro and MTD Philippines president Patrick Nicholas David.
“The facilities here are excellent from the warm up to the competition pool,” said Al Kishry, adding that the Aquatics Center is Olympic standard. “There’s nothing you can ask for about the venue.”
Al Kishry said he expects top officials from FINA, swimming’s world governing body, to attend the championships.
Competitions will be in swimming, diving, artistic [synchronized] and water polo, including a category for boys and girls as young as 11.
Perez said a year’s preparation would help the POC, BCDA and NCAA for a successful hosting of championships.
“It’s not easy to host an event like the Asian championships. It requires a year of preparation and dry runs to make it better,” Perez said.
The NCC’s other world-class facility, the Athletes Village, would house the swimmers, coaches and officials.
The specific competition dates in November 2023 will be announced later. (PNA)