Osmeña is firm: No Ironman in SRP

By: Nestle L. Semilla June 24,2018 - 10:13 PM

Participants of the Ironman 70.3 as they pass by the Cebu South Coastal Road from the Plaza Independencia tunnel during last year’s edition of the thriathlon held on Aug. 6, 2017.
CDN file photo

Despite the plea of some fans, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña stood firm that he would not allow the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship to use the Cebu City side of the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) for the race.

In his Facebook post on Saturday, Osmeña apologized to the fans of the prestigious race but stressed that they could not convince him otherwise.

“Sorry Ironman fans, I am not changing my mind. With N. Bacalso (Ave.) already being affected by the construction of the underpass, the SRP (South Road Properties) will not be shut down. I know that there are thousands of you, but there are tens of thousands more who need that road to commute. I will not let traffic to get worse for them,” said Osmeña.

In line with the position taken by the mayor, the Cebu City government has officially denied the request of the organizers of Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship to hold portions of their triathlon event along the CSCR, the road that links Cebu City’s SRP to Talisay City.

The CSCR had traditionally been part of the route for the 90-kilometer biking segment of the internationally renown race, which would start and end at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa and traverse four cities — Lapu-Lapu on Mactan and the mainland cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay.

The Ironman 70.3 race in the Philippines has been held in Cebu since 2012, drawing thousands of professional and hobbyist triathletes in the country and from around the world.

A Cebuano hobbyist triathlete, who requested anonymity, told Cebu Daily News that he was dismayed after hearing the decision of the
mayor.

“Dili big deal sa akoa iyahang (Osmeña’s) decision (His decision is not a big deal to me). But what is striking is (the) short notice. One month na lang,” he said.

The race is set to happen in less than two months, on August 5.

He said that he is the biker of a relay team that will join the race and he has been practicing in CSCR.

Before joining the race two years ago, he said that he has been an Ironman spectator at the SRP route of the race.

“So I also experienced at least knowing the seaside part (of CSCR). I bike to work and I ply the SRP route for my training,” he said.

Since he lives in Barangay Mambaling, the source said he also knew what is it like to be affected by the traffic because of the ongoing underpass construction along N. Bacalso Avenue, which is located in the barangay.

But he noted that since the race would fall on a Sunday, he did not think it would have a big effect on traffic since the race would usually start early at 6 a.m. and would end at 11 a.m.

But in earlier interviews, Osmeña cited not only traffic but also road accidents as the reasons for denying the request.

He said that turning one side of the CSCR into a two-way road would be very dangerous as there were collisions that occurred the last time the city government tried it.

“It is very prestigious to host the Ironman, but I don’t want that prestige if it hurts my people and makes them miserable,” he said.

“There are other, less populated parts of Cebu who can host the Ironman with no detriment to their constituents. I’m sure they are very willing to have you,” added Osmeña.

The mayor ended his post with his message of good luck to the race organizers and athletes.

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TAGS: firm, Ironman, No, Osmeña, SRP

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