And given that it’s already rare to find a world-class track oval in Manila, the coaches of Philippine track-and-field team vehemently disagree with the proposed sale of RMSC.
“Definitely no,” said Athletics squad head coach Josephy Sy when asked by reporters what he thought of the move by the Philippine Olympic Committee in the SCOOP forum.
“If it were up to me, all cities should have at least one track oval. As far as we’re concerned, we go around Metro Manila, we only go to ULTRA (PhilSports Complex) and it isn’t even good,” he said in Filipino.
But even before the proposed sale, the track and field athletes have been relocated to train in the PhilSports’ oval in Pasig, while the national team’s “priority athletes” have been training in Baguio.
Roselyn Jamero, also part of the coaching staff of the track-and-field team, said, ”
“Now, ULTRA is becoming crowded. The venue will deteriorate much faster if more people are using it.”
Jamero also said she has observed a dip in the overall performance of the athletics program in Metro Manila, “simula ng nagalaw ang Rizal (when they moved Rizal) [Memorial].”
“Even collegiate teams, the national team, are finding it difficult to look for a]venue,” said Jamero, also saying they had to train in Laguna in their 2011 build-up.
The plans to put the storied complex — built in 1934 and house, a baseball field, football field, among others — was announced by POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., late in May.
Reports have it that mall giants and a nearby top university have shown interest in purchasing the 10-hectare venue, which is a property of Manila.
“In Manila, there is only one Rizal [Memorial] and it’s irreplaceable,” said Jamero.
“If Mayor [Joseph] Estrada is really pro-poor, he will not sell Rizal Memorial,” said Sy.