By Dave S. Albarado
More great sports heroes are emerging from Tagbilaran City.
One of the proofs is the undefeated boxer and WBO International Featherweight Champion Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo.
Much as the people here want to see more fights or games of local sports heroes, the city is lacking the right infrastructure to host major sporting events.
Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap said having a major sporting venue remains an ambition and a plan for the city.
“Usa gyud na sa atong mga plano” (That’s one of our plans), said Yap during Friday’s press conference with Ala Promotions that promoted Pinoy Pride 43, with Magsayo fighting before a home crowd in the main event.
However, putting a major sporting venue or an arena in the city would be not as easy as it seems.
The mayor made a promise to revisit the plan to have a sporting venue during the presser for the upcoming fight of Magsayo versus his Japanese challenger Shota Hayashi on Nov. 25 at the Bohol Wisdom School gymnasium.
A win by Magsayo catapults him to the top of the ranking and become the top contender for the world featherweight championship.
Magsayo stakes his World Boxing Organization International Featherweight crown against Hayashi.
At the moment, the city’s priority on infrastructure projects is focused on the immediate needs of the city residents.
“Nakahibawo ta na dako-dako na ug gasto” (We know how expensive (an arena) can be), the mayor said referring to the cost of the construction of a sporting venue in the city.
The city is focused on the road repairs and the city drainage system, as of the moment.
The mayor said the city is also busy bidding out the requirements of the Tagbilaran City College.
Yap said the city has a lot of priority projects to fulfill first before it can focus on having a major sporting venue built in the city.
Nonetheless, having a sporting venue for world-class sporting events remains a plan worth being considered, albeit, in the backburner for now.
Bohol lacks the right facilities to take advantage of an emerging vertical in the tourism industry–sports tourism.
Having the right facilities and infrastructure can attract many sporting events here and also tourists who may want to witness the events and stay in the province as tourists.
Sports tourism is a critical industry vertical that can deliver better results to the tourism industry in Bohol.
Tagbilaran is in the right position being the only city in the province to host big-ticket sporting events.
Having a top sporting venue will also help expose Tagbilaran to national and perhaps international media being the host of a major sporting event.
This can serve as free exposure for Tagbilaran and attract more tourists to visit here.
The upcoming fight of Magsayo is going to be beamed nationally via ABS-CBN Sports and Action and internationally through The Filipino Channel.
For now, the city can hold on to the promise of the city mayor to put up a major sporting facility in the future.
A sporting facility that every Tagbilaranon can be proud of and perhaps one day be able to host a PBA game so that people here need not go to Cebu or Manila to watch professional sports live.