By John Tria
Davao City — The cool dawn brought hope over this city with the many stories from the first-ever Ironman triathlon in Mindanao.
There is a 21-year-old double amputee who drew the crowd’s appreciation as he crawled out of the swimming ramp to complete his leg of the course. There is a 70-year-old man, and a mother who recently gave birth. There are scores of family members and friends cheering them, and the 1,800 other triathletes.
Such inspiring stories can only emerge from the mill of struggle on water and Davao’s hot pavement that nonetheless rolled out a grand welcome for the triathletes and other visitors.
The city and the organizers clearly did not disappoint. Many of the participants appreciated what they termed better organization, a stronger commitment of the local government to the event’s success. Even the Philippine Air Force chopper was cheered on by spectators. The Kublai Millan-designed medal reflected this solidarity as it does for the city’s cultures coming together.
The triathletes came with their friends and family members, swelling the visitors ranks and filling the waiting area, creating a bonanza of tourism income for the city and nearby provinces that offered what it could.
In post-triathlon dinners and coffee sessions, they admired the layout of the course, the venue of the start and finish, complete with visitor amenities like food stalls and an airconditioned tent, complete with the festive air of native drum music.
The new Azuela cove that lies within the city, near malls, hotels, and places of interest, made it a convenient and secure host.
There being no untoward incidents, or major complaints from athletes and spectators only means that the event was a runaway success (pardon the pun).
That it took place in the King City of the south serves to benefit all Mindanawons. Challenging the fears raised by foreign travel advisories, it proves that the capability to host such a prestigious international event lies within the island.
Likewise, holding it in Davao recognizes Mindanao’s potential as a source of triathletes, that the island is a major market worth courting. Expect more athletes to join next year’s event, and a bigger crowd to discover the city on the side.
Thus, we expect more sporting events like runs and bikefests, and the fitness awareness of more Mindanawons to rise.
This ironman event caps off a months worth of celebrations for the 81st founding anniversary of the iron city, one that is growing at a phenomenal rate.
Its Davao City Chamber of Commerce reports record membership, property prices going up fast, and establishments coming in like it never experienced. In the last two weeks, Davao hosted three visiting Chinese and Taiwanese business groups and launched a new regular flight to Siargao.
Thankfully, the city’s infrastructure is slowly advancing as bypass and coastal road projects approved years ago are now funded and have begun construction to ease traffic.
In addition, a bus scheme is planned to ease both traffic and meet the growing need of commuters to ferry folk from the rising city center to its suburbs. Even the water district is expanding service to meet this demand.
One thing visitors and their hosts agree on is that despite the urban problems that accompany this growth, it is evident that the city tries its best to cope and deliver on long-term plans to meet people’s needs. It sets out plans and implements.
The consistent capability to deliver over the years enabled a strong base of credible support. This makes for a confidence in government unseen in many other Philippine cities.
Kudos to Mayor Inday Sara Duterte. The iron city is living up to its name.
Congrats to Pisay87 team and my other friends who came over to take part. Wishing more success in next year’s Triathlon.
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