Nikko David, the president of MTD Philippines, has insisted that the quality of the new athletics stadium that will host the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines has not been compromised even though development work has been squeezed into an 18-month timeframe.

Work on the NCC Athletics Stadium has been completed ahead of the start of the Games on November 30, with such a project usually taking around three years to complete, according to David.

“It was done in record time but (still has) the quality required to host the Olympics,” said David, who added that the Philippine athletics team has been training at the venue since August. The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association also held a test event at the venue in October.

“So far, our athletes and coaches are very happy with the facilities. That’s the true testament of the quality of the product,” David added, according to the Manila Times.

The construction schedule was accelerated after Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, performed a u-turn in 2017 to confirm financial support for the multi-sport event in the country.

The stadium has been developed as part of the Games’ Clark Cluster within the New Clark City Sports Hub complex located in the province of Tarlac.

Designed by the BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design firm, the Athletics Stadium has been built alongside the Athletes’ Village and the Aquatics Stadium. The design was inspired by Mount Pinatubo, located on the boundaries of Tarlac and fellow provinces Zambales and Pampanga.

Innovations have been installed at the stadium, including a warm-up track featuring SmarTracks technology, which collects data on the speed, stride length, jumps and agility of the athletes.

E-Sports International has delivered the competition track, which has been given a Class 1 certification by the International Association of Athletics Federations, as well as training facilities.

“It is very inspiring to hear that the facilities we installed are having a favourable impact on our athletes,” E-Sports managing director Audris Romualdez said. “We worked diligently to provide tracks and gym facilities that meet the highest quality standards and can match Olympic venues worldwide.”

With an eye on the Olympics, David suggested that visiting national teams and athletes could hire out the venue and its facilities ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games to acclimatise before travelling to Japan.

“They can train here first because we have the summer weather like Tokyo,” David added.

Image: New Clark City Stadium