Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Bigger, tougher Olango Challenge set

Bigger, tougher Olango Challenge set
The Philippine Star
April 06, 2011

MANILA, Philippines -- Through the 2011 Olango Challenge, open-water swimming will continue to make waves in the Philippines.

The annual fund-raising event, which will benefit the people of Olango Island in Cebu, will take place on April 30 at the Tambuli Beach Club.

Launched in 2008, the event hopes to promote the sport in the country, considering that it’s now an Olympic event and part of the Southeast Asian Games calendar.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress is behind the unique and exciting event in coordination with the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association.

Antonio Aboitiz, chairman of the PBSP regional office in the Visayas and co-chairman of the open-water event, yesterday said they expect a bigger staging this year.

“It’s always been different each year. Now we expect as many as 70 participants who will swim the open-water box formation which they will circle three times for a total of six kilometers,” he said.

“There will be relay events for teams of three, and prizes for those who will swim the 2 km route fastest,” said Aboitiz during the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue.

Aboitiz said it’s part of the awareness program they have launched a few years back, greater awareness for open-water swimming and swimming in general.

“Even though we are an island nation, still there are a lot of people who don’t know how to swim. Six children below 12 years old die of drowning every day in our country,” he said.

“And hopefully, this event will do some good,” added Aboitiz, who was joined in the forum by the event’s project director, Lex Reyes.

Since 2008, the event has raised almost P1.7 million for the people of Olango Island, used for social services and other income-generating projects.