When the City Government of Manila starts the vaccination program on COVID-19 for its residents, Mayor Isko Moreno surely has different programs that will benefit the country’s capital city.
One of these is the sports program, and in particular, turning Manila as the country’s water polo capital.
According to former water polo national team stalwart Dale Evangelista, who has close ties with the popular public servant that dates back to their teenage years, that is what Moreno is hoping to develop.
“That’s what Mayor Isko mentioned, he wants Manila to be the water polo capital,” said Evangelista, now a member of the Philippine Water Polo coaching staff together with head coach Reynaldo Galang.
“In other countries they have water polo capitals, like in Japan they have the province of Kashiwazaki, and then in Spain they have Barcelona. Mayor Isko wants to have that same distinction for the City of Manila.”
From their initial discussion, Evangelista said they have already identified some aquatic facilities in the city, and that the development program will be for the six districts of Manila.
Evangelista said that District 1 has the Tondo Sports Complex and Vitas Aquatic Center, while District 2 has the Patricia Sports Complex, the Andalucia Sports Center in San Lazaro for District 3 and the Dapitan Sports Complex for District 4.
Venues are still being finalized for Districts 5 and 6, although the Aquatic Center inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Vito Cruz is an option since it is also a possible venue once competition begins.
“The plan is to have aspiring water polo athletes go through a training program, yearly and per district, that’s why we identified the venues for the training program under top athletes and coaches,” he said.
“We’ll teach them how to play water polo, from the fundamentals to the techniques… after that we’re hoping to conduct a tournament – each district vying for the title.”
Evangelista said he expects the support from the water polo community, particularly from the national team that includes Galang, as well as veteran athletes in Roy Canete and Tani Gomez.