The Philippine Sports Commission on Monday announced that the refurbished Rizal Memorial Coliseum will be completed in time for the Nov. 13 Team Philippines pep rally for the 30th Southeast Asian Games slated late next month.
“We are looking forward to this event to show that sports is a strong unifier and equalizer in this country,” said PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, adding that the government sports agency has volunteered to give six venues being renovated for the country’s hosting of the biennial meet.
A small of group of media toured the facilities around the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex where six sports will take place.
Rizal Coliseum will be the site of gymnastics, while Ninoy Aquino Stadium will be the venue for taekwondo and weightlifting.
Tennis will take place at the Tennis Center while football will be held at the Football Field.
Architect Gerard Lico, who is in charge of rehabilitating the 8,000-seater Rizal Memorial Coliseum, said they have 285 workers working on three shifts to complete renovations.
“Its last major renovation was in 1953, so it has been a difficult and tricky process. Apart from being a sports venue, it’s a historical landmark, and we want to preserve this piece of history, at the same time, elevate the competition and viewing experience of athletes and audiences,” he said.
Designed by Juan Arellano in 1934, Rizal Memorial Coliseum’s rehabilitation process includes the installation of new seating, flooring, fireproofing, flood protection and for the first time in coliseum’s history, air conditioning system.
Being declared as a historical landmark, the restoration is in accordance to Republic Act 10066 (An Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage).
While the Rizal Memorial Coliseum will be opened before Nov. 13, the remaining sports facilities around the complete and Philsports (formerly ULTRA) will be completed by Nov. 15 to 20.
The Philsports Arena, which will also feature advanced air-conditioning, new chairs and partitions, will be hosting volleyball.