Saturday, February 01, 2014

Fair Play: A different kind of Suroy-Suroy Sugbo

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Feb. 1 edition)
I KNOW the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program of former Gov. Gwen Garcia, which has been continued in Gov. Hilario Davide III’s term, is a big hit as it promotes tourism in the towns, I hope the Provincial Government will look at the sports landscape in the province and see the potential of another program.

One that might need just a little push to become the next big thing and I’m talking about tapping the vibrant running and triathlon community in Cebu.

Just take a look at the sporting calendar outside Cebu City in the next two months.

There’s the ultra-marathon in Bogo which started yesterday, the tri-team championships in Dalaguete on Feb. 8, and the Kawasan Marathon in Badian, also in March.

There’s also the Tabuelan triathlon in June, and, if they weren’t discouraged by the conduct of last year’s event, the Oslob triathlon in October.

What all these things have in common are these are all started by private individuals who want to spread the sport outside Cebu City, and they all bring with them hundreds, if not thousands, of participants, support crew, technical staff who all contribute to the economy of the host town.

Athletes, especially triathletes, contribute a lot to the local economy as they don’t visit the place just once because they do test runs, rides and swims days before the event.

Some do it alone, while some bring along with them their friends and families and if they enjoy the experience, they’ll spread the word on social media—with the pics to prove it—promoting the host town or resort.

And if you have a celebrity participant like Sen. Pia Cayetano, who has 224,222 followers on Twitter, joining an event like the Kawasan Marathon, you’d have an instant promoter of Badian and its beauties.

I don’t know what happened to the planned creation of the Cebu Province Sports Commission, but if that group finally pushes through, I hope that their first project would be to support events like these.

It doesn’t have to be about the financial side as these groups have shown they can hold these events using their own pockets but a little blessing from the Provincial Government would help.

And what would be the ideal next step? A Dagan-Dagan Sugbo program. Identify 12 towns or hosts for a 12-leg event that will run for the whole year. It doesn’t have to be a running event as that tend to get boring but all the Commission Chairman has to do is look at what’s already available.

And what’s on the menu is this—an ultramarathon in Bogo in January, a tri-team championship in Dalaguete in February, the Kawasan Marathon in March, the Tabuelan triathlon in June and the Oslob triathlon in October.

That’s already five months of the year done even before the year could start.

Just imagine the potential for the promotion of the municipalities and towns from such a program.

All it takes is just a little imagination from the province. The setup is already there.

What say you?

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