Saturday, April 30, 2011

Olango Challenge open-water swimming competition today

Olango Challenge open-water swimming competition today 
By Caecent No-ot Magsumbol
The Freeman
April 30, 2011

CEBU, Philippines - The 2011 Olango Challenge, the country’s premiere open-water swimming competition, unfolds its fourth edition at 10 am today at Tambuli Beach Club in Mactan Island.

Nikita Dacera and Erika Lukang are all set to defend their respective title in the open division.

Over a hundred swimmers are expected to join the annual fund-raising event, which will benefit the people of Olango Island.

Launched in 2008, the event hopes to promote the sport in the country considering that it's now included in the Olympics and past of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games calendar.

The other top athletes set to see action are last year's runner-up Loren Dale Exchavez and third placer Paul Abigail Vega.

This year, the premiere division features a longer course as the organizing Philippine Business For Social Progress and the sanctioning Philippine Aquatics Sports Association stretch the race route from five to six kilometers.

Aside from that, there’s also a 2K class both for the competitive and fun swimmers plus the relay category.

Antonio Aboitiz, chairman of the PBSP regional office and co-chairman of the open water event, said they are expecting 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," Aboitiz said in a press statement.

He added the event is part of the greater awareness for open-water swimming and swimming in general program they have launched a few years back.

"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 everyday in our country. Hopefully this event will do some good," said Aboitiz.

Since 2008, the event raised almost P1.7 million for the people of Olando, which is used for social services and other income-generating projects.