PHILCYCLING is working on the reinstatement of cycling in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa, over three decades since it was dropped from the national multi-sport event for grade school and high school athletes.
The country’s governing body for cycling came up with a resolution on Saturday during the federation board’s meeting, convinced that it will help boost the current grassroots development program focused on finding young talent and developing them into potential national athletes.
Former Tour champion Modesto Bonzo of Pangasinan initiated the move, backed by fellow-ex champion Paquito Rivas and former stars Juancho Ramores and Cornelio Baylon, who both started their illustrious careers in the Palarong Pambansa during their high school years in the 1970s and early 1980s.
The board meeting coincided with the kickoff leg of the Asean Mountain Bike Cup Series in Danao City, Cebu.
The competitive aspect of cycling is just one of the objectives why PhilCycling wants the sport back in the Palaro, according to Philcycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Cycling is no longer just a sport or a hobby or a form of physical fitness, it is an advocacy to help save the environment,” said Tolentino, adding that representations will be made with the Department of Education (DepEd) through Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro and Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali, the Palarong Pambansa secretary general.
The Palarong Pambansa used to have cycling on its program but after a four-year hiatus from 1984 to 1987 because of the Edsa Revolution, it was dropped when the games were revived in 1988 in Lucena City.
“The campaign to use the bicycle practically every day, as a mode of transportation to and from the work place and schools, has gone global and almost every country in the world is one in promoting the bicycle to help halt global warming,” said PhilCycling chairman Bert Lina, considered as the godfather of Philippine cycling who bankrolls the annual international multi-stage Le Tour de Filipinas.
Danao City Administrator Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, PhilCycling technical commission head, vowed to encourage his province of Cebu to help in the campaign and pledged to create a mountain bike program suitable for kids of elementary and high school age.