DELAYS in shipment of imported equipment and materials forced the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to transfer the squash competitions to an alternate venue as construction and rehabilitation of key facilities inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex went fever-pitch.
The complex has been undergoing rehabilitation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting from November 30 to December 11.
PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram, the commissioner in charge for squash as deputy chef de mission, bared on Monday that the construction of a building inside the Manila complex will be finished on time for the Games.
What is not guaranteed, Kiram stressed, is the arrival of a shipment of flooring materials specific for the sport that are imported from Germany.
“Shipment is just one thing,” Kiram said. “Once the imported flooring and additional equipment reach the sports complex, they need to be fitted on the newly constructed building.”
“The facility will be finished on time, but the flooring from Germany might not arrive on schedule,” she added.
Philippine Squash Academy President Robert Bachmann thus booked the squash courts at the Manila Polo Club for the competitions set from December 1 to 9.
The Rizal facility will be utilized as a training center for the squash and table tennis national teams.
Kiram said the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee requested the PSC to lend its venues because of the enormity of the Games in terms of sports, the biggest at 56.
“RMSC was originally not part of the SEAG venues. But because our facilities are within the standards, they ask for our assistance,” she said.
PSC Chairman William Ramirez said the financial support from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. of P842 million for the rehabilitation of the facilities came as “a saving grace to the ailing status of the age-old Rizal Memorial complex.”
“Phisgoc is looking for venues and we offered six,” said Ramirez, referring to the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal football stadium, tennis and squash centers and the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City.
The PSC organized a site visit inside the rehabilitations of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, venue of gymnastics, and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the taekwondo and weightlifting venue.