After months of waiting, swimming caps, balls and training goals were finally delivered to aquatic centers of different districts by the office of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
The equipment actually arrived from Europe last April, as Moreno wants the country’s capital to be the water polo capital of the Philippines. But the distributions of the water polo gears had to wait following the surge of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region.
Led by Dale Evangelista, the man in charge of the program, and Roel de Guzman of the Manila Sports Council (MASCO), the equipment were distributed to five facilities, namely Vitas Aquatic Complex, Andalucia Complex, Dapitan Complex Bagong Buhay Complex, JCC Complex and the new Patricia Aquatic Center in Hermosa St. Tondo, Manila.
“We’re happy that finally we’re able to give them the needed training equipment. This just proved that Mayor Isko Moreno is serious and determined to turn Manila as the water polo capital of the Philippines,” said Evangelista, a former stalwart of the water polo national team.
Evangelista, now a member of the national team coaching staff, said that the program would start under Alert Level 2 if the local government gives its go signal for all ages to move around.
At the moment, Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4.
“Of course, still our main priority is the health and safety of everybody. We have guidelines now so we’ll start if Manila moves to Alert Level 2. We’re ready with all the health protocols,” said Evangelista, also a chairman in Barangay 56 in Tondo, Manila.
“But to be able to distribute the equipment, this is a good start and we’re all excited… Mayor Moreno is excited because he knows many of our youth are willing to join this sports activity.”
Domagoso said he wants the city capital to be at the same level as the city of Barcelona in Spain and the province of Kashiwazaki in Japan – all considered in the world as the water polo capital in their countries.
Evangelista said that residents of the city would be the main target for this program as they hope to develop future national team athletes for water polo – a sport where the country won two silver medals in the Southeast Asian Games, the latest was in 2019 here.