NEW CLARK CITY, the Philippines, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Around 8,500 construction workers, wearing hard hats and reflective safety vests, work around the clock to finish the sports facilities in the New Clark City in Capas, a town in Tarlac province, 100 km north of Manila.
An Aquatic Center, the Athletic Stadium and the Athletes' Village will make up the Philippines' New Clark City sports complex, the main hub of the 30th Southeast Asian Sea Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. The complex has been a buzzing construction site since March last year in preparation for the biennial regional sports event.
The 2,000-seater Aquatic Center has a 10-lane competition pool, an eight-lane training pool and a diving pool with a five-meter maximum depth, and meets the global standards of the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA).
The Aquatic Center's design took inspiration from baklad, or woven fish nets of local fishermen, as well as Capiz shells used in traditional Filipino architecture.
Aside from the Aquatic Center, the sports complex also includes a 20,000-seater Athletic Stadium and an Athletes' Village comprising seven residential buildings surrounded by a 1.4-km riverside green park with bikeways and jogging paths.
At least 3,000 athletes and swimmers are expected to be in the sports complex during the SEA Games.
Philippine athletes can start training in the world-class sports facilities next month, according to Philippine officials involved in the multi-billion-peso project.
"Right now, we can tell you with utmost certainty that all these facilities will be finished way ahead of schedule, by Aug. 31," Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon told reporters after a tour of the facilities.
Dizon added that Philippine athletes can start using the facilities by mid August. "We want our athletes to get acclimatized and get used to the brand new facilities," he said.
"Our hardworking athletes deserve training facilities that are world-class. We hope the New Clark City sports complex will inspire and motivate our athletes in the upcoming SEA Games."
Dizon said at least 50 athletic and 40 aquatic events will be held in the sports complex.
"We are on target," Alloy MTD Philippines Inc. President Patrick Nicholas David said as he walked journalists and photographers through the facilities, adding that they are on track to meet their self-imposed target of Aug. 31. "We just want to be ahead of the curve," David said.
"(The Aquatic Center is) now over 90-percent complete and we will finish these in the next 43 days, which is our self-imposed deadline and have all finishing touches done by mid of October," David said during a tour of the facilities on Friday.
He added, "We have to finish this in time for the holding of the 30th SEA Games without compromising the quality of the sports facilities."
Already, David said some countries have expressed interest in using the facilities to train their athletes before competing in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
MTD Philippines Inc. is the local unit of the Malaysian infrastructure firm AlloyMTD Group that developed the sports complex which form part of the 200-hectare National Government Administrative Center (NGAC).
Dizon noted that the facilities in New Clark City will be the first major sports hub constructed by the government since the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex built more than eight decades ago in 1934.
The SEA Games closing ceremonies will be held at the Athletic Stadium while the opening ceremonies will be held in the Philippine Arena in Bulacan province, also north of Manila. Some of the SEA Games sports events will be held in Manila and Subic in Olongapo City.
Approximately 10,000 athletes from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam will compete in the 30th SEA Games, which the Philippines will host for the fourth time.
The Philippines won the overall championship the last time it hosted the SEA Games in 2005. The event was also held in the country in 1981 and 1991.