Sports in Danao City

Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez is the chairman of the Danao City Sports Commission. I asked him a few days ago if he was happy for Danao to host another major sporting event.

“When Sunrise Events approached me six years ago, they wanted to hold it in Danao,” said Boying of the off-road triathlon race called XTERRA. At that time, he said, Danao was not ready. Considering the hundreds of competitors, foreign athletes and their families who’ll congregate at the site, Danao did not have sufficient resort rooms to house everyone. Plus the venue needed to be at least half-an-hour away from the resort host, Crimson Hotel.

Boying suggested Liloan. Thus, for four years, Liloan hosted XTERRA. “I suggested the swim be at Amara,” he said. “The bike route had to pass by three lighthouses and the run around Papa Kits.”

First with Liloan (2011 to 2014), then with Albay (2015 and 2016), XTERRA is back to where it originally belongs: Danao City.

Thanks to the sports-loving family of the Duranos — Mayor Nito Durano and his son, Congressman Red — XTERRA will host the open-sea swim/mountainbike/trail-run event next year on April 23.

MTB. Danao City is a mecca for mountainbiking competition. Nearly 20 years ago — back in 1997 — Danao organized the 3rd Asian Mountain Bike Championships participated in by 13 Asian countries. Four years later in 2001, it was the 1st South East Asia MTB Championships plus they co-hosted the SEAGames by holding MTB Competition.

And as recently as last year, Danao City co-hosted with Cebu City the Batang Pinoy Cycling, Triathlon, 3X3 Basketball and Softball.

Mr. Rodriguez is the executive director of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP). Given his position, he was tasked to organize the Visayas leg of the National Age Group Triathlon (NAGT) series.

“If you remember right, I have held it for many years in Plantation Bay Resort where the likes of Matteo, Justin, Yuan (Chiongbian) and others started their triathlon careers,” he said. “I moved it to Danao because the traffic situation in Mactan was getting worse.”

To add to Danao’s list of events, this year they hosted the National Mountainbike Championships in Danasan Eco-Adventure Park. Also, the Philippines won the bid for the 2018 Asian Mountainbike Championships and three places (Tagaytay, Ilocos, and Danao City) are vying for hosting honors. This will lead to big prize — the South East Asian Games — which the Philippines will be hosting in 2019.

PALARO. I asked Boying about Danao’s chances of bagging the hosting rights for next year’s Palaro.

“We are three to four years away from being ready to host the Palaro,” he said. “Although the other municipalities of the 5th District would be co-hosting, we still lack the facilities. Our stadium, built nearly 15 years ago and where we previously held the CVIRAA, is scheduled to be resurfaced and rehabilitated. We need at least a month of continuous sunny weather to have it resurfaced. The municipality of Carmen, which is also building a track and field oval and an Olympic-size swimming pool, might not be ready in the few months left.”

It was the Danao DepEd Division that bid for the Palaro — without much consulation with the city officials. (Given this pronouncement by Boying, it looks like Iloilo City is a shoo-in as host for the 2017 Palaro,)

As to Danao’s long-term plans for sports, one goal is to build a swimming pool beside the track oval. The Cebu Province has allocated funding but the amount is not enough, said Boying. He’s hopeful, though, that it will be built soon — together with a handful of world-class tennis courts.

“Mayor Nito’s thrust,” he added, “is to have a comprehensive grassroots program for sports. We’re targeting the schools and we hope to excel in sports that bring in the medals: Taekwondo, table tennis, badminton and gymnastics, to name a few.”

In three to four years, said Boying, expect Danao City to make another pitch for the Palarong Pambansa.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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