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Of Boxing gloves and running shoes

Words | Allen Reondanga - Information Officer
Photographs | Allan Rey Camata, Paolo Alvarez and Randy Villaflor

Putting Naga On The Sports Map

THERE IS NO stopping the City Government in placing Naga City on the country’s sports map. Under the leadership of Mayor John Bongat, it has committed itself to vigorously conducting and supporting big sports programs in the City such as fun runs, marathons, boxing, football, etc. aimed at promoting Naga as the regional center of sports.

The City’s Chief Executive expressed optimism that sports events will be elevated from mere crowd-drawers to a way of life for Nagueños with the creation of the Sports Development Office under the new Education, Scholarships and Sports Office.

With the growing wellness craze gripping the country, Naga was host to no less than 12 fun runs from January to March of this year. The runs were organized and sponsored by the City’s civic organizations and participated not only by Nagueños but also people from other parts of the region in search of plain physical fitness activities or charitable causes. For this reason, Mayor Bongat issued Proclamation No. 2, Series of 2011 declaring the City of Naga as the Fun Run Capital of the South “to encourage more organizations, to host similar activities that will encourage people to be more involved in physical wellness activities and as an effect, boost Naga’s local and international tourism”.

Recent studies conducted by an internationally known credit card company has shown Filipinos as the most charitable people in Asia, a possible reason why cause-oriented fun runs and sports events like the 1st Naga City Run, a special fun run organized by the City Hall Athletes Maintenance Programs and Services (CHAMPS), managed to gather no less than a thousand runners to help feed and bring joy to more than 700 underprivileged children last March 6.

On April 16, together with the Archdiocese of Caceres, the City will again another event dubbed “Run for Naga River,” aimed at increasing awareness on the importance of the river in the life, history and culture of the Nagueño. The event is expected to mobilize more than 3,000 “defenders of the river” to raise awareness and funds for the Naga River Revitalization Project and the flagship environmental, cultural, economic, and tourism program of the Bongat administration aptly called “Salog kan Buhay”.

Meanwhile, to promote Naga as Southern Luzon’s Boxing Capital, Naga City successfully staged and hosted the RP Welterweight Championship fight between Dennis Laurente and Dondon Sultan at the Naga City Coliseum last March 5. Preparations for the title bout kicked off with the approval of the Memorandum of Agreement between the City Government, represented by Mayor Bongat, along with the Sangguniang Panlungsod, and international boxing promoter Johnny Elorde.

Dubbed as Boxing Kontra Droga, it was the first boxing title bout held in the region. Laurente, who landed in the world ratings after six successful outings in America, mostly in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao, won the welterweight title with a breathtaking sixth round knockout of former Philippine champion Dondon Sultan.

Boxing aficionados can expect another round of hard punching events and converge once more at the Naga City Coliseum this September in time for the Peñafrancia Festivities as Mayor Bongat starts negotiating with international boxing promoters to bring international championship fights to Naga.