Chile Opens Aquatic Center Ahead of ODESUR
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera opened Chile’s new aquatic center which will be a key part of the South American Games in March 2014.
ÑUÑOA — The President, Sebastián Piñera, along with Government spokeswoman, Cecilia Pérez, and the Minister of Sport, Gabriel Ruiz-Tagle, today inaugurated the new Aquatic Center of the National Stadium, which becomes the first sports arena built for the 10th edition of the South American Games “Santiago 2014″, to be held from the March 7-18.
After touring the facilities of the main building, which is approximately 6 thousand square meters and houses the Olympic-sized swimming pool and diving pool, the President said that “we have opened an aquatic center that is world class and will allow us to have the infrastructure that Chile deserves and needs, not only for the ODESUR Games, but also to be at the service of all Chileans.”
He recalled “the solemn commitment we made (in 2010) when in the midst of a country where many earthquakes have occurred, we decided to go ahead with the effort to host the Games and with all the investment for infrastructure, while all of you, athletes, have promised us 50 gold medals. ”
In this context, he said “today, we are inaugurating this wonderful Olympic-sized swimming pool, which our country so needed. I would like to briefly mention: the balance in infrastructure is that never before had such an effort been made to improve the sports infrastructure of our country, as in the last 4 years”.
He explained that “not only is there an Olympic-sized swimming pool, velodrome and skating rink, but we have also built or remodeled 13 professional stadiums with FIFA standards; we have built or are almost done building 156 mini stadiums, where athletes will be able to play sports, these have soccer fields, bleachers, lighting, change rooms, and can be found in many communes of our country”.
He added that “we will finish building 30 sports centers, many with semi-Olympic pools of 25 meters in length, and courts for basketball, handball, dancing, aerobics and yoga.”
In this line, the president said, according to a recent FAO study, “30 percent of Chileans have some type of obesity, and the worst part is that the rate is even higher in children. So in this effort to make Chile a healthier and more active country, what we are looking for is a fuller and happier life”, emphasizing that “we have made a huge effort to double the number of athletes in our country and go from 2 to 4 million”.
Similarly, he said that “we have wanted to transform Chile into a sports capital. That is why next year we will have the Dakar Rally here again in our country, we will host the Street Soccer World Cup, we will host the ODESUR Games, in the year 2015 we will host the Copa America and the U17 Soccer World Cup, that is to say we are advancing on all fronts”.
Finally, President Piñera announced the appointment of Eduardo Valenzuela as Assistant Secretary of Sports, stating that “he was not only the first Chilean triathlete, I think he still holds the 1,500 meter dash Chilean record. He is also the director of the Olympic Committee and an engineer, therefore he has this dual role, of training and a life dedicated to sports, so he can do a very good job as undersecretary of Sports, together with the new brilliant Sports Minister Gabriel Ruiz -Tagle. ”
New Aquatic Center
Located on the grounds of the National Stadium, in the commune of Ñuñoa, the sports center is part of the Bicentennial Legacy promoted by the Government and is part of hundreds of initiatives that seek to preserve the heritage for future generations.
The project involved the remodeling of the existing Olympic-sized swimming pool, 50 by 25 meters, and the construction of a mega roofed structure with a dehumidifier system for continuous year-round use. In addition, there are three other pools: for diving, of 15 by 25 meters; for beginners of 7 by 25 meters, and an outdoor pool, which will be used for synchronized swimming and water polo.
The new Aquatic Centre involved a 4.6 million dollar investment and will have a capacity for 1,500 people.