CLARK FREEPORT -- A Kapampangan triathlete coach has underscored the suitability of Clark as sports training center.
Coach Melvin Fausto, a gold medalist in triathlon, has cited the positive impact of their training experience here.
Fausto was the coach of the Philippine Triathlete team in the just concluded South East Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Nakita namin talaga yung terrain sa Malaysia at yung environment is very similar to Clark, long road network,” said Fausto who first brought the triathlon training program to Clark in 2007.
Fausto and triathletes Nikko Huelgas and John Chicano were interviewed in CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk after capturing the gold and silver medals. In that interview, they also talked about Clark as a training ground.
“Clark is center for some provinces in Central Luzon. Hindi lang po yung mga nanalo sa SEA Games ang tini-train ko. We have athletes from Quezon, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Bataan, Zambales. Dito ko sila mini-merge dito sa Clark, dito ang pinaka-neutral camp nila,” he added.
Fausto said he initiated a move to use Clark as a training hub in 2007.
He said he wanted to show the government particularly the National Sports Commission and the National Olympic Committee that there is a venue in Central Luzon where athletes can undergo training and that is in Clark.
“Clark is very very feasible, Clark is doable lalo na sa training,” Fausto said.
In 2007 SEAG, in Pattaya, Thailand, the Philippine Triathlon Team bagged one gold, two silvers and four bronze medals.
They group composed of Ryan Mendoza, George Vilog, Alessandra Araulo, August Benedicto, Arland Benedict Macasieb, Analiza Dysangco, Maria Melliza Gayle Lucas.
“During that time 2007 we also had our training in Clark and CDC management supported us,” Fausto said.
For the 2017 SEAG, the selection process was held in Clark, according to him.
“Meron tayong magandang running path dito sa Parade Ground, mga cycling roads natin dito very safe and of course yung mga food kumpleto naman ditto sa loob ng Clark,” Fausto said.
For the swimming leg, they trained at an Olympic-sized pool at Fontana Leisure Resorts inside Clark.
Clark Freeport was adjudged as the 2016 Sports Tourism Destination of the Year given by the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards.
Clark is being seriously considered as one of the venues for the 2019 SEA Games that will be hosted by the Philippines.
The Bases Conversion Development Authority is pushing for the establishment of the so-called Philippine Sports City.
The facility will be located inside the 9,450-hectare New Clark City inside the Clark Special Economic Zone.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on August 31, 2017.
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