The one-year countdown to the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games began with the lighting up of the countdown clock at the Bayanihan Park in Clark, Pampanga on Friday night.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, representing President Rodrigo Duterte, was the special guest during the launch of the countdown clock designed by Budji+Royal.
The countdown celebration signals the start of a series of activities leading up to the opening ceremony of the 30th SEA Games at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan province.
The 2019 SEA Games, which will carry the theme “We Win As One”, features 56 sports.
“But more than a celebration, this gathering is a display of solidarity in support of our hardworking athletes. These athletes who triumph amid trials, truly embody the Filipino values of determination and heroism,” Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chairman Allan Peter Cayetano said.
“In all our activities for next year’s Games, we should embrace the spirit of unity. We are one and we win as one,” Cayetano, former secretary of foreign affairs, added.
Top officials of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and national sports associations, heads of delegations from SEA Games participating countries, as well as past and present national athletes witnessed the countdown ceremony, which began at 7 p.m.
Those who joined Medialdea and Cayetano on stage for the illumination of the countdown clock were PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, POC president Ricky Vargas, and athletes commission chairman Nikko Huelgas.
The SEA Games countdown clock was introduced as the Philippine government’s commitment to raise the standards of hosting the tournament to the level of Asian Games.
The 15-meter tall structure consists of 11 circles representing the countries of Southeast Asia: Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
During the countdown ceremony, Team Philippines chef de mission Monsour del Rosario and representatives of the other 10 participating countries were presented with the official invitation to the 2019 SEA Games.
Clark will be the main hub of the 30th SEA Games. Construction of world-class facilities, such as athletic stadium, aquatics center and athletes village are ongoing at the New Clark City.
The athletics stadium has nine lanes and a 20,000 seating capacity. The aquatics center will have a 10-lane competition pool, eight-lane training pool, five-meter diving pool, and a 2,000 seating capacity. The amenities inside the athletes’ village include residential zone, dining area, prayer rooms, international zone, events and cultural area, transport and medical plazas. (PNA)