Renovations are already ongoing at the San Fernando Convention Center as the country gears up for its hosting of the 21st Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in August.
Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc. (PNVF) President Tats Suzara said Wednesday, May 19, they are preparing the venue to meet the international volleyball standard as it will serve as the main competition hub of the elite tournament.
The Subic Gym and Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Pampanga will serve as secondary halls.
The PNVF sealed their collaboration for hosting the event recently with the provincial government of Pampanga and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda and BCDA Vice President Arrey Perez laid down the groundwork in a meeting early this week with Suzara.
Suzara will also be meeting with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman and Administrator Atty. Wilma Eisma.
“Governor Pineda is excited and supportive to host the championship for the first time (in their province),” Suzara said in a statement.
Though the tournament will be held under a bubble-type setup with no audiences, Suzara said Gov. Pineda hopes the provincial hosting would serve as a springboard in his plan to have a grassroots program for the youth in Pampanga.
This will be the third time that the country is hosting the tournament, the last in 2017 in Biñan, Laguna.
Jiangmen, China was the initial host but withdrew at the last minute, urging the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to offer it to the Philippines.
“We (PNVF) saw the opportunity and we grabbed it,” Suzara said.
While venue preparations are in full swing, Suzara said they are also laying down plans for a bubble training of the team competing in the top-tier tournament.
As hosts, the PH women’s team earns an automatic slot to the tournament, which is expected to have 16 teams.
Eleven teams have already qualified namely 2019 champion Japan and runner-up Thailand, South Korea, China, Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei, Iran, Indonesia, Australia, India and Hong Kong.
Qualifications are based on top 10 rankings from previous championships, five teams each of the five zones including West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, and one for the host nation.
For any unused quota, the spot will be reallocated to the next highest ranked nation.