Entering the 80th season of the UAAP, three sports will be making their debut in the Philippine collegiate scene. After going through deliberations with the various member schools of the league in order to merit their inclusion, field hockey, figure skating, and windsurfing will be played as demonstration sports.
“Part of our thrust in the UAAP is to promote diversity through sports, especially among our student athletes. We aim to do this with the inclusion of three more demo sports,” said DLSU’s board representative Mr. Emmanuel Calanog.
The sport of hockey was believed to be first played back in Egypt centuries ago. As time went by, it evolved through various forms, one of which is field hockey. Field hockey is played on grass or artificial turf. Players use a stick, most of the time made from wood, to hit a small plastic ball into the net. Its rules are almost identical to the rules of football, with two teams consisting of 11 players, and only the goalkeepers allowed to use their feet and hands.
Another sport soon to be part of the UAAP is windsurfing, a combination of surfing and sailing.
On the other hand, figure skating was first played in Russia, and has since developed into a sport which has taken the Winter Olympics by storm. The ice skaters’ main equipment here is the leather shoes with blades underneath, which allow them to glide and move smoothly on the ice. There are four categories set to be played: freestyle, pairs skating, ice dance and synchronized team skating.
Implementation and logistical concerns
However, the demo sports were also met with logistical problems. With 15 events already listed throughout the academic year, the UAAP board now has to accommodate the specific requirements of the entering sports.
For instance, windsurfing will entail having to make trips to Laguna or Batangas just to hold the events. The venues for figure skating will also be limited. The UAAP may have difficulty reserving skating rinks—for example, the one in Mall of Asia is open to the public for everyday use.
The problem for field hockey is similar since most of the fields used in the country are utilized for football. One solution that has been considered is to let the athletes play air hockey, with Timezone or Power Station eyed as possible venues.
This move by the UAAP is to ensure the further promotion of sports in the country and to give the Filipino athletes more opportunities to showcase their talents and possibly start a professional career.