Thousands of national athletes. Dozens of elite sporting tournaments. One world-class, state-of-the-art sports facility. 

During the 2019 SEA Games, the Athletics Stadium of New Clark City stood out as a design marvel unlike anything in the country today. It is the first and only sporting venue in the Philippines to hold a Class 1 certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). That means we can look forward to more international sports competitions like the Asian and Olympic Games being held at the 20,000-seater stadium.

But what does it take to build a multipurpose sports venue that offers spectators an unrivaled experience? Developers of the NCC Athletics Stadium share some tips and best practices.

1. Learn from other countries’ experiences 

Stakeholders went to sports facilities around Southeast Asia and other countries that recently hosted the Olympics and World Championships. “We went to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Japan, and London to take a look at their best practices: what they did well, what they didn’t do well, what we can improve upon and try to learn from,” said MTD Philippines president Nikko David.

This is how they were inspired to design a scalable facility—from 20,000 seats the stadium can be scaled up to 55,000 for the Asian Games.

2. Get suppliers with impressive track record in design and technology

Technology gives facilities a competitive edge–and that’s what MTD Philippines, E-Sports International, and their partners brought to the country’s premier sports hub. The stadium’s nine-lane 400-meter track and field oval, and indoor and outdoor six-lane warm-up tracks use the IAAF-approved Rekortan M sandwich synthetic surface system. 

Innovations added to the warm-up track include SmarTracks—a tracking technology that records data on the speed, stride length, jumps, and agility of the athletes in real time. The athletes are also powered by training equipment from Technogym, the go-to supplier for the Olympic Games.

“With new technology, athletes can perform better and improve their development in the long run,” David said.

3. Find partners whose vision and goals align with yours

Beyond finding partners who can provide impressive tech and design, it’s essential that everyone involved shares the same vision and goals. 

While David confirmed that training elite athletes was their “number one” vision for the project, he said that they also aim to provide world-class facilities for corporate offices and schools. “Filipinos in the corporate world are trying to get healthier not just smarter, wiser, richer. There’s a lot of programs wherein companies actually train, exercise more often. … Now, we can give them a world-class experience as well.” he said. “Then of course, schools. We no longer need to actually run around in a shorter version of an Olympic track. Because if we don’t start training our athletes, the young athletes, or our students in a world-class facility, they’ll only be stuck in the lower level.”

MTD Philippines chose to partner with E-Sports International because we shared a vision of developing a culture of active living and providing world-class training experiences to all Filipinos—whether they’re elite athletes training for international competitions, companies seeking to level up their fitness programs, or aspiring student athletes.

4. Create contingency plans

The new Athletics Stadium was built in a record time of 18 months, but developers assured that its quality was internationally certified to host big sporting events like the Olympics. What were the secrets to making it happen? Flexibility and efficiency.

“We had to have a lot of backups. We made sure we were adaptive enough, efficient enough. We could always change plans but it would have taken time and money. So when we had to, it still had to be on schedule and on budget,” David said. 

The open-air stadium was used for the track and field events of the SEA Games, which included dash, pole vault, and discus throw. The games concluded on December 11, 2019 and the Philippines emerged with a grand total of 387 medals—149 gold, 117 silver, and 121 bronze.

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