I’m thankful to the Lord not only because the Philippines hosted the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (2019 SEA Games) but also because Obstacle Course Racing made its debut in the said games as a medal sport and their events were held at Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
On the morning of December 4, I hiked from Commercenter to a closed stretch of road just beside the golf range. There the SEA Games OCR was held and, specifically, the event I got to watch was the 400-meter Team Relay event with a pre-finals match between the Philippines (composed of Diana Buhler, Jeffrey Reginio, Klymille Rodriguez and Nathaniel Sanchez) and Malaysia. I recorded a portion of that particular match on my official Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco. Watch it just below.
During the breaks between matches, I made my way through the spectators’ section observing the place, the set-up of the obstacle course and met a few friends (including a Christian sister of mine). The obstacle course really had a lot of expensive looking, customized hardware strategically placed along the closed stretch of the road.
To put in simple terms, obstacle course racing offers lots of challenges for athletes who are expected to not only be fit, strong and fast but also be strategic with their moves because the racing involves running, climbing, light-gun shooting, side-stepping and the like. In other words, it’s a very creative and exciting way of racing.
After the bronze medal match between Indonesia and Timor Leste, the gold medal batch between the Philippines and Malaysia was announced to follow. Naturally the spectators prepared themselves for what was anticipated to be a high-pressure match and they were not wrong.
Then the gold medal match happened. From where I was standing, I witnessed Malaysia overtake the Philippines temporarily before the lead went back to the Filipinos. While I was unable to move close to the finish line for the victory crossing moment, the spectators’ loud cheerful reaction and the voice-over by the event commentator confirmed the victory. Praise and thank the Lord for the gold medal victory of the Philippines!
And then the ceremony of the awarding the gold, silver and bronze medals took place which was witnessed by not only the spectators but also by special guests (including a congressman) and varied sports officials. Philippines won the gold, Malaysia the silver and Indonesia the bronze.
There is nothing like witnessing the SEA Games OCR 400-meter Team Relay medal ceremony on location and in person. It definitely is a more engaging experience than watch such a ceremony on television or via the Internet video. I also made the effort to get a good position in front of the stage, record the ceremony on video and upload it on my official Facebook page. After all that, I left to visit another place.
So what can I say about OCR’s debut in the SEA Games? From what I saw, the creative sport has a future in the regional games. When it comes to South Metro Manila, Filinvest City definitely is a solid venue to have OCR events held with an outdoor setting. When it comes to holding the event inside private subdivisions, however, it can be tricky because it will involve the homeowners’ association (HOA) especially when it comes to matters like in-village traffic, security, noise pollution and crowd control. It’s too easy to suggest holding an outdoor OCR event inside Ayala Alabang (which has a country club, by the way, plus roads wider than those of other subdivisions) or BF Homes subdivision (which has no country club but has a sports club) without considering the disturbance to the residents. The way I look at South Metro Manila, Filinvest City is ideal.
Looking for another venue further south? There is Vermosa Sports Hub along Daang Hari, Imus City, Cavite. Apart from the sports facilities, they have a lot of roads and wide open spaces (vacant lots). I can imagine an OCR event being held there. Vermosa Sports Hub is already established as a popular destination for triathlon (swim-bike-run) and aquathlon (swim-run).
No doubt about it. Obstacle Course Racing has a nice future ahead here in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia.
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