Athletes gear up for Zambales sportsfest

With almost half a million pesos in total cash prizes at stake, more than 200 triathletes and at least 15 frisbee teams have signed up for the Zambales Multisports Festival 2011 slated March 18 to 20 at the Uacon Cove beach strip in the popular resort town of Candelaria, Zambales. 

Zambales provincial administrator Jun Omar Ebdane, who is the overall chairman of the sports festival, said a huge number of participants signed up for various events last week that organizers now have to set a limit on competitors.

“Our festival is still young, so to speak, that is why we have to keep the numbers to a manageable limit,” Ebdane said on why they imposed a cutoff.

“This is really heartening, and overwhelming at the same time, that a lot of athletes showed interest in our sports fest. It means that our province is now gaining recognition as a destination for such events,” added Ebdane.

The multi-sports festival was organized by the office of Gov. Hermogenes “Jun” Ebdane Jr. to develop a tourism niche for the province and thereby help local communities earn additional income.

The sports events, as well as other related competitions like a photo contest and a bikini competition, will be held against the backdrop of Potipot Island, dubbed as the “Boracay of Zambales” because of its white, powdery sand.

Gov. Ebdane said the development of the province’s sports tourism industry is a major thrust of his administration, as Zambales has many untapped destinations for adventure sports enthusiasts.

“Sports tourism is the type of industry we want to promote here, as it bodes well for our tourism development thrust, which aims to attract more long-term visitors,” the governor said.

The first day of the festival will start with a 120-km cycling race from Uacon to the capital town of Iba, and back.

Other sports events will be held in Days Two and Three—the Black Sands Ultimate Frisbee, Dawal Openwater Swim, Black Sands Triathlon and Potipot Duathlon.The festival will also feature the “Over the Top” wall-climbing competition co-organized by Grip Up, a tattoo art contest, the Zambal Bikini Open, and the Digital Capture photo contest, which is open to both amateur and professional photographers. – JVP, GMA News

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