Visayas Open introduces pentathlon by offering new sports

By Glendale G. Rosal |July 08,2018 - 09:23 PM

THE second of the eight legs of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Visayas Open held in the City of Naga, southern Cebu, over the weekend introduced open water swimming, air rifle shooting, and fencing aimed at encouraging and developing athletes for modern pentathlon.

The three new sporting events are part of the pentathlon event, an Olympic sport which PSC strongly believes that Filipinos can excel in.

Pentathlon is comprised of five different sports—fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian, pistol or air rifle shooting and long-distance running.

Over the weekend, PSC Visayas brought in renowned fencing coach Benny Garcia from Manila to introduce fencing as a demo sport in the Visayas Open. Garcia is the fencing coach of actor, athlete and politician Richard Gomez.

“We are introducing modern pentathlon here that is why we included open water swimming and air rifle as well as fencing which is a demo sport as a start because we can surely compete in pentathlon. And, we already have long- distance running as part of the Visayas Open. We are also considering equestrian or horse back riding,” said PSC Visayas regional director Nonnie Lopez in an interview.

Aside from open water swimming and air rifle, they also added archery. The other sporting events that were contested over the weekend were badminton, lawn tennis, boxing, karatedo, and taekwondo.

“We envisioned this when we started this. We do believe that even though you have a grassroots program, if it is all training, no exposure to competitions then it is useless. Major meets like PNG, Batang Pinoy, Palarong Pambansa and other regional meets are only once a year, it still lacks the exposure. It is the competition that makes the athletes good,” said PSC Commissioner Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez.

“We are planning to make this a quarterly competition and good enough, last January when we presented this in Manila in the planning session of PSC, chairman Butch Ramirez picked this program up to make it,” Fernandez added.

The full results of the Visayas Open is yet to be published by the PSC Visayas officials. Because of its success, Luzon will soon hold its own edition of this grassroots level competition. Mindanao already had its own edition last month.

Next year, PSC is planning to hold this simultaneously, to be dubbed as the “Luzon Visayas Mindanao Open” or the LUVMO Games.

For now, the main attention is focused in the PSC Visayas Open which will visit Panglao, Bohol next weekend wherein weightlifting, arnis and table tennis will be contested.

“It’s not a grassroots program, it’s mainly a grassroots tournament. Grassroots program is some sort of a clinic to teach the kids different kind of sports, the Visayas Open is where they will be tested, exposed to a competition. This answers to look at results and also, we will rank who are the best grassroots athlete that we will be developing to represent our country in the future,” added Fernandez.

A total of 15 sports are featured in the PSC Visayas Open which is held in eight legs.

The first culmination or grand finals of several of this 15 sporting events will be held in December in Ormoc City while the rest will be next year.

The PSC Visayas Open have three age categories—16-under, 14-under and 12-under.

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