CLEAN SLATE: Rome’s Colosseum reminds me of the Artica Sports Dome

Rome, Italy — I heard the line of a song, “the glory that was Rome”, for the first time at a videoke bar owned by Philippine Taekwondo Association-XI regional director Hyoung Joo Kim in the 1990s in the company of our sportswriting brothers.

Pare Jon Develos belted that song that night.

I never thought that one day I would have the chance to take a closer look of the Colosseum here. This is the largest amphitheatre in the world, built almost two thousand years ago.

“Glory that was Rome” indeed as this has become one of the renowned symbols of Imperial Rome.

Had we lived those days as sports chroniclers, we could have witnessed the gladiators and have it recorded in the newspaper.

Davao City has no Coliseum yet but luckily we have private schools that can host indoor events. The Almendras gym, renamed Davao City Recreation Center, has been hosts to jampacked events like basketball.

We have not come yet to having a sports facility close to Rome’s Colosseum of course that has an average of 65,000 spectators. The SM Mall of Asia can accommodate 20,000 spectators.

The Colosseum used to host an average of 65,000 spectators during the time of Imperial Rome. (Photo by Moses Billacura/Edge Davao)
However, looking at the Colosseum here has reminded me of the controversial P300-million Artica Sports Dome.

The project was initially built during the time of Mayor Benjamin De Guzman but with the comeback of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, this was not finished because of various controversies with regards to environmental clearance and alleged overprice.

And Mayor Digong was not happy about it. To cut the story short, wala ma tiwas.

So the Artica Sports Dome has been lying there for the last two decades with no glimmer of hope that it will be finished.

If memory serves me right, had that Artica Sports Dome been finished during the term of Mayor De Guzman, the sitting capacity is around 18,000. With that capacity, Davao City would have the ability to host not just big-time sports events but exciting concerts.

Building of sports facilities are always good for a growing City of Davao. And from the point of view of any member of the sports community, we always believe that people will come if you build one.

The UP Mindanao-Davao City Sports Complex has hosted big national sports events, to the joy of the Dabawenyos.

If there are national sports events in the city, the holding of the various games can be mainly hosted at UP Min-DC and the rest at the facilities owned by private schools, specially the University of Mindanao Matina Campus.

That has been the status quo now.

But we should not forget that the building of that Artica Sports Dome involved people’s money, your hard-earned tax money.

I don’t know, but I believe that the mothballed Artica facility should be given a second look.

Can it still be finished?

This is subject to a deeper study of the situation, probably the sports executives at UP Mindanao and their sports students can come up with a study.

The public money spent there can probably be recovered in the coming years if that facility is finished and professionally managed. This is just a thought.

To finish it or not lies in the hands of our public officials with the help of the private sector.

Sayangan lang pud mi ana basi puwede pa.

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