Friday, July 06, 2012

Fair Play: A mighty step backwards?

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on July 6)
LIKE Josphat Kiptanui, I don't like the move by some local organizers in banning the foreign runners from getting a chance to win prizes in local events.

It's a mighty step backward, and one that sends the wrong signals.

Back when running was in its infancy, some organizers, in an effort to highlight their event, would brag to reporters, "Our event is not ordinary because we have Kenyans joining.  They will be flying in from Manila just to join our run."

Yep, having Kenyans and foreign runners in their event was a stamp of approval.   Now they want to shoo them away.

Now, it's all about "giving chance to local runners."  And I'd really believe this lame excuse if the local organizers --some of whom are earning quite well from organizing runs, would forfeit half their fee so local runs can have a division for local elite runners and another open division.

If organizers are really that concerned about local runners, why then do they charge an arm and a leg for their event? Or they could only charge registration fees to runners who are in contention for the prizes, while those who join runs simply for the love of running get in for free.

Crazy? Yep it is as crazy a notion as barring foreigners to support locals.  This move is akin to barring board topnotchers from getting local jobs, so mediocre graduates can get them.

Of course, some of the organizers never see it that way.  They are only concerned with getting the numbers, money and publicity for their event.  Social responsibility, it seems, is a strange notion for them, even unity even, that's why it had to take the Cebu City Sports Commission to step in and regulate running.

Like Josphat Kiptanui, I don't like that move and I hope organizers find a better way of supporting local organizers, without discriminating foreigners because as a nation fueled by OFWs remittances, it is a despicable move.

Is it discrimination?

It is really.  It's like foreign employers telling our nurses, "Sure, you can work in our hospitals but sorry, you're not entitled to salaries because we want to give chance to our locals."

That stinks, right? 

Like Josphat Kiptanui, I disagree with this practice, and unfortunately, like the Kenyan, there’s nothing that can be done, unless, of course the CCSC steps in again and insists that runs held in Cebu City be open to anybody. Organizers, after all, are private entities that can do anything they want with their event.

Would Cebu City, a city that is trying to position itself as the top tourist destination in the country, want to be associated with events where foreigners are discriminated?

From a high of almost five runs a month, there aren’t that many events this year,  and if the time comes again that there would be only five or six in a year, I hope these organizers who have barred foreign runners for the good of local runners, would take it upon themselves to organize events, even if they lose money.

Because that’s what some of the guys who are really concerned for the sport did a few years ago and not like what these johnny-come-lately organizers who joined the bandwagon have done.  They organized events for running, not to make money.

I’m just glad though, that other organizers—curiously those who have been in running longer—don’t agree with the move and have not adopted it.

These are organizers who join runs abroad and know that this “no-foreign-winner” policy is a counterproductive move and a mighty step backward. 

These are the guys who are really concerned about local running.

P.S. The next run that will adopt the “no-foreign-winner” policy is the Sonshine Run.  I hope they drop that policy because as a run organized by a religious movement that is slowly establishing its presence worldwide, it is an ironic move.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is the same thing that happens in our government and economy.