THE country’s biggest track and football stadium in the country is now the new home of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) track and field team.
This was announced on Saturday at the launch of the nowheretogobutUP Foundation, a new foundation set up to solicit and manage contributions for the varsity athletes of perennially cash-strapped UP.
According to Atty. GP Santos IV, the Chief Operating Officer of the Philippine Arena, where the Philippine Stadium is located, the assistance package includes free use of the facilities of the Philippine Stadium for training, transportation to and from the practice venue, and recovery meals for the coaches and players of the UP Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Team.
“We are honored to partner with one of the most promising athletic programs in the country, one headed by one of the leading figures in the running movement in the Philippines,” said Santos, referring to Coach Rio dela Cruz, head coach of the UP track team.
“The Philippine Arena just wants to do its share to develop our nation’s athletes, and contribute to producing medal winners in the next Olympics in Tokyo four years from now,” said the lawyer.
Aside from hosting the practices of UP’s track hopefuls, the Philippine Arena will also shoulder the expenses for the team’s uniforms, shoes, gear, dorm, equipment and other basic needs and essential requirements like tournament accommodations.
Coach Rio, as he is fondly called by the running community, said that with assistance like that provided by the Philippine Arena, “UP’s team is on the right track.”
According to the running guru, “there’s no doubt that our country has a lot of talent, and much of that talent finds its way to UP. What we need to do to build a winning program is develop that talent -- and this is what this contribution can really help us do.”
Philippine Azkals and UP Maroons Manager Dan Palami, who is also the President of the nowheretogobutUP Foundation, welcomed the “very generous contributions of Philippine Arena” as well as the commitments of the sponsors of UP’s other varsity teams.
“We all know that as a state university, UP has funding limitations; it’s time for the alumni to step up and work together to tap partners like Philippine Arena and other corporate sponsors, so that our athletes will be competitive in competitions like the UAAP,” explained Palami.
The Philippine Arena is the largest indoor arena in the world, with a seating capacity of 55,000. Located in the Philippine Arena compound in Bulacan, the Philippine Stadium, on the other hand, is the largest track and football stadium in the Philippines, with a seating capacity of 25,000.