Thursday, March 05, 2015

Fair Play: Another great move by CCSC

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 5 edition)
SOMEDAY I’m going to run out of praises for the Cebu City Sports Commission. But not today, not now. Not while the group keeps on putting the “roots” in grassroots.

Consider the latest pet project of CCSC--a grassroots running program in the mountain barangays of Cebu City, a program inspired by a chance encounter CCSC chairman had with a Kenyan during a trip abroad.

Why put it up in the mountain barangays? Well, why not?

Elite athletes, not just runners, include high-altitude training in their regimen to improve stamina, and in the mountain barangays, you have hundreds of kids who walk, run and play every day in high-altitude.

So, what did CCSC find out when they started the program in barangay Guba, Cambinocot, Paril, Lusaran and Sirao? Close to 70 percent of the 600 kids who joined the training had potentials to be medalists, almost 400 of them.

That’s an impressive number and shows giving the kids who live in the mountainous barangays the chance to get into sports is the perfect idea, one that makes you think--why didn’t anybody think of this before?

And, because it’s a CCSC program, Sir Ed Hayco is entertaining notions that from these kids, Cebu City could produce the next Olympian but that’s not really the point it all.

During a meeting with the kids, the hands-on sports guru said all the kids want to finish college and if they continue with the program, they could just become the next generation of track and field athletes not only in Cebu but all over the country.

The perfect example was the one who led the training session, Mary Joy Tabal, who grew up in Barangay Guba, got a scholarship as a sprinter in Southwestern University and is now the best marathon runner in the country.

Athletics is the perfect sport for kids to get into because anyone can run, jump or throw things, it’s just a matter of getting the perfect technique and I often tell folks that if you want your kids to get athletic scholarships but they don’t have any talent for football, basketball, volleyball etc, let them try out for the athletics team. Who knows? They might have that natural talent.

And it’s that natural talent that CCSC is discovering among the kids up north and so far, things are looking good.

Of course, a good project is as good as nothing if it isn’t sustained, so like the rest of its grassroots program, the results of this latest move will only be felt years from now.

And with a program like this, we’re all willing to wait.


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