Sports and the city

11/17/2010 - After Manny Pacquiao beat Mexican Antonio Margarito to bag his eighth boxing championship last Sunday, Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon said he would ask the city’s sports commission to improve boxing clinics and provide free gloves to boxing enthusiasts in the barangays.

With boxing’s popularity peaking anew, Dizon said promoting sports could divert the urban poor from joining frat wars or illegal drugs.

Promoting sports is a no-fail way to engage the youth and reap the side benefits of less juvenile delinquency.

Public investment, however, should not be poured into a single sport to the detriment of others.

There’s room to encourage more than dancesport as Cebu City’s flagship. Dancesport champions have done a wonderful job expanding interest through barangay outreach clinics and a mentoring program that has dancers giving back to the community.

The past administration singled out dancesport as Cebu’s chance to win international acclaim, which it has accomplished. Cebu City even holds the Guinness World Record for the largest outdoor dancesports class.

But what about other sports?

Running is at the height of its popularity, and biking is catching on. Both activities force sedentary city folk to hit the road and think of healthy living.

Weekend athletes discover the magic of solo striving and the state of Cebu’s outdoors. (Oh, for more clean, unpolluted air, level roads, less vehicles and more bike lanes).

The Cebu City NiƱos last Friday bagged their 18th overall championship title in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet in Dumaguete City.

But student athletes in CVIRAA have some modest backing from local government units and their schools. The bigger population – thousands out of school and out of jobs – don’t have patrons to get them into sports.

The Cebu City government should consider sports opportunities for the greater public.

Take the Cebu City Sports Center.

Replacing its pock-marked, partly melted rubberized track has been a long-standing promise.

Deliver that track and you’ll have the gratitude of thousands of fitness-conscious city folk.

Councilors discussed a P10-million budget for renovation of the sports center under the city’s Supplemental Budget 5 last week. They did so, however, in the context of preparing for the Sinulog grand parade in January. The P10 entrance fee in the center goes to its maintenance since no other funds are laid out by City Hall.

Cebu City leaders need to shape up a long-term investment committment for sports facilities and programs.

If a portion of the proceeds from selling land in the South Road Properties would go to this cause, it would be an investment well-made in favor of quality of life of thousands.

Now that would be more potent than riding the latest wave of love for boxing inspired by Pacman, who is, after all, one of a kind.(Cebu Daily News)

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