OUR paper recently ran a story on the priorities of Lapu-Lapu City mayor-elect Ahong Chan once he assume office. It’s just too bad though that the new mayor didn’t touch on sports as I--and I assume, thousands of others--want to know whether Mayor Chan will put a premium on sports as his predecessor had.
The biggest sports tourism event in town is no doubt the Cobra Ironman, which happens every August. And it wouldn’t get this big if not for the support from the Lapu-Lapu City government. Heck, in fact, the most common theme I hear from the participants and the media that covers it is that Sunrise Events is lucky to have such a partner.
I wonder if that will still be true under the new mayor or whether he will review the terms of the partnership, get the city more bang for the buck? I’m not saying the city is being short-changed. Perhaps more trickle down effect of the economic benefits that seem to be limited to the five-star hotels? Besides, it’s the ordinary residents, not the tourists who have to endure the road closures whenever the athletes hit the road.
No one wants to do anything mandatory that is school-related on a Sunday, right? And, I’ve heard of some complain about being made to cheer on the road. Perhaps, less of that too?
Maybe perhaps Mayor Chan can encourage the organizers to help design a running and a swimming program for Lapu-Lapu City public school swimmers?
And of course, being a football fan, I hope the new mayor will have an active sports commission that will also promote the beautiful game and not just hold basketball tournaments.
There used to be a community-based team in Lapu-Lapu City led by German Manfred Schuwerk and I think he managed to have a few kids earn scholarships. With Talisay City and Mandaue City picking up pace in futsal development, I hope Lapu-Lapu City will also get in with the program.
Futsal is a great way to get girls into sports and with Cebuana players being one of the best in the country, it’s also a great way to earn athletic scholarships in college.
BIKE ROUTE. Last year, organizers of the Ironman had to do some last-minute scrambling after they learned Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña wouldn’t allow the use of the South Road Properties as he had the previous years. Osmeña cited the traffic it would cause as the underpass in Mambaling was still being built.
But with a new mayor in town, will the Ironman also return to the SRP?
A regular jogger who interacts with running buffs himself, perhaps mayor-elect Edgardo Labella would be more amenable to allowing the use of the SRP for the event. I know some see it as an inconvenience, getting stuck in traffic while the rich folks play their game but I hope the residents see the value in being the host of such prestigious event.
Cities like New York, LA, Tokyo and London have their annual marathon, which draw thousands. The Ironman may not draw the same number of participants, but it helps a lot in promoting the city.