SWIMMING. The local government unit of Antique installs anti-wave lane ropes in the Binirayan Swimming Pool, the first of its kind in Western Visayas. Photo by Raisa Serafica/Rappler

ANTIQUE, Philippines – A rubberized oval track and a swimming pool that has an anti-wave feature. These are just some of the new sports facilities available in Antique for the 60th edition of the Palarong Pambansa.

Every year, the chosen host province for Palarong Pambansa face the overwhelming pressure of successfully staging the biggest sporting event in the country with little to zero roadblocks as much as possible. In its first experience to host Palaro, how is Antique province measuring up to the country’s expectations?

According to the Department of Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali, the province is doing a good job. During the press briefing on Friday, April 21, Umali shared how Antique has proved itself worthy of being this year’s Palaro host.

For one, Umali cited how the province managed to “transform an old sports complex to something that is of international standard.”

He was referring to the Binirayan sports complex where the 18 regional teams will be converging on Sunday, April 23, during the Palaro Pambansa opening day. (READ: Duterte to attend Palarong Pambansa 2017 opening)

This was made possible through the the rubberized oval track that was turned over by DMCI corporation to the provincial government of Antique, according to Antique Palarong Pambansa Organizing Committee (APPOC) head lawyer Arthur Lastimoso.

The Binirayan Sports complex will serve as the playing venue for at least 6 sports events, namely: Athletics, Basketball, Football, Special Events, Tennis, Pencak Silat.

Lastimoso added that they are expected to install anti-wave lane lines on their olympics-sized swimming pool, the first of its kind in Western Visayas.

“According to our tournament manager, it might be very possible that many records will be broken in this year’s Palarong Pambansa because of that development,” Lastimoso added.

After Palaro

YOUTH EMPOWERMENT. Many of the sports events will happen in the rubberized track of the Binirayan Sports Complex. Photo by Jieven Santisteban/ Rappler

There are at least 30 playing venues around the province of Antique dedicated for the sports event. The good news is that the use of the facilities would not end with the culmination of Palarong Pambansa 2017. (READ: 3 demo sports to debut in Palarong Pambansa 2017)

“We are talking, as a province, to our national tournament managers to come up with a sports program to maintain all the facilities that could be used by our student learners,” Lastimoso said.

The Antique provincial government also provided 37 billeting quarters for the young athletes competing in the sports event.

Carrying the theme “Converges Youth Power, Builds Sustainable Future,” the 2017 Palarong Pambansa will highlight the role of the youth in building a better future.

More than 12,000 student-athletes from elementary and secondary schools of the country’s 18 regions will converge in San Jose de Buenavista City from April 23 to 29 to compete in 20 regular sports events and 3 demonstration sports.

President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the opening ceremony of the games on Sunday, April 23. – Rappler.com

READ: Palarong Pambansa 2017 stories by campus journalists