Helping Marginalized Sports

ALLEZ - JV Araneta - The Freeman

Cycling, bike motor sports and skateboarding are just three sports that have a bad reputation from the public. Obviously, the reason that these sports are not that well accepted is because these athletes practice their craft on public roads and they compete with the other users of the road like the pedestrians and the almighty car.

With a rise in the population in the sport of cycling during the pandemic, there were lots of close calls and tragic events between athletes and other road users. This led to arguments in social media and vitriols were hurled between pros and cons and yet, no solution was offered. The government, instead of mediating and helping, just stood there with their arms crossed on their chest.

And what about the motorcycles along the Transcentral Highway? Some have used that place to hone their banking and speeding skills at the expense of the regular commuters. There is a board along the TCH which counts the number of deaths and the number of accidents that have occurred, most likely to scare the motorcyclists. Is that the best our government can do?I can only imagine the folks living along that highway.

And then there are those kids on skateboards, hanging on to speeding vehicles along Jones. I even saw a few kids practicing downhill runs along Camp in Manipis. I don’t even know how they stop their skateboards at all. Are they kids on a death wish?

I was watching a vlog by Makina, a motorsports vlog, who said that in Thailand, the government built a racetrack for the motorcyclists where they can race and train and hone their skills away from the public. You see, the Thai government could not stop the illegal motorbike “tigbakays” along public roads. It was a win-win situation.

First, there’s a decrease in accidents involving illegal street racing. Two, athletes with natural skills can now practice and have a chance to have a career in motorsports and eventually bring honor to the country.

The same thing with cycling. Why not build a velodrome, or a 2-3 kilometer race track for the cyclists? It’s a win-win situation just like in motorsports.

Margielyn Didal, is a Cebuana gold medalist in skateboarding during the 2018 Asian Games. Do you know what the irony is? You guessed it- we have no dedicated skatepark. Didal recalled how she was barred from malls for bringing in a skateboard. She and some friends were even arrested by cops while practicing.

I have already written a column suggesting to the government building a skatepark in the now defunct Cebu City Center along Junquera Street after Didal won gold. But it seems no one listened.

Except for basketball, for which I sincerely believed in the wrong sport to channel the most money to, other sports are about to become extinct. Take cycling for example. Cyclists used to train at the old Abellana and the Fuente Circle. Then they moved to the Cebu Reclamation Area and later to the Mandaue Reclamation Area. When the Mandaue government closed it down, they moved to Il Corso. They were eventually shooed away and now they are at City de Mare. SM Seaside was also very kind to let us use their grounds from 5-9AM but it was canceled for whatever reason.

Can you imagine if the Philippine Sports Commission would actually open up their purses for true grassroots programs?

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