HAD it momentous in 2019, the Philippine Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF) continued to thrive, despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic this year.

One of the more successful Philippine sports associations in last year’s 30th Southeast Asian Games, where obstacle course racing accounted for 10 medals, six of which gold, the POSF said work continued for them after in further developing the sport and the local scene for it despite operating in extraordinary times. “We never stopped,” said Atty. Al Agra, POSF president, in his session at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.

Mr. Agra went on to say that while the pandemic has made their work all the more challenging, it has not stopped them from putting forth their plans and programs with the end view of keeping obstacle course racing relevant and building on the gains they have made since being established in 2017.

“We coined the term ‘advertunity’ in that there are opportunities amid the adversities. We relied on our resiliency. We did not look at the new normal but the better normal, and through sports contribute to sustainability and development in the country,” said Mr. Agra.

Apart from laying down programs for regular practitioners of the sport, POSF has also moved to use its platform to engage and involve other members of the community, in particular, street children, the visually impaired and the deaf, through the Association for Community Sports Advocates (ACSA).

“It’s sports for all with no discrimination. We created a primer on 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) covering sports, human rights and our national athletes. We put up a template on sports ordinance for the cities, municipalities and provinces,” said the POSF head.

Mr. Agra was also happy to report that different communities in the country have started to take notice of obstacle course racing, by setting up race courses in their areas.

He cited Subic, Laguna, Boracay, Cebu, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as some of the places that have put up facilities.

POSF is also in the process of preparing an Obstacle in a Box (a 12-in-1 facility covering a limited space) for 20 schools, colleges, and universities in cooperation with the local government units.

“Appreciation for the sport really widened. During the lockdown, we held regular virtual workouts for the able-bodied, Para (special athletes), youth and seniors,” said Mr. Agra.

To finish the year, POSF is set to hold a face-to-face ninja event at the Pretty Huge Obstacles at SM Aura on Saturday.

Mr. Agra was quick to say though that the event will be conducted under strict health and safety protocols, with one athlete going at a time.

As for next year, the POSF is angling to host an Asian event in May and competing in a world event in Russia. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo