It used to be called obstacle course racing before assuming the brand-perfect name Obstacle Sports.
Obstacle sports is the world’s fastest-growing sport where competitors race to complete a course laden with a variety of obstacles to test one’s overall physical fitness including endurance, strength, and speed. It’s growing fast and almost everybody can play and participate.
Could it be the next Olympic sports?
Philippine Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF) president Al Agra said the sport’s stakeholders are working hard to get the nod of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the sport’s stakeholders are “looking at the 2028 Olympics.”
“Our international federation is working towards that goal. We hope to be part of the 2028 Olympics,” said Agra, a lawyer by profession, who himself actively practices the sport to keep himself fit.
It’s a long road and Agra said their focus right now is making the sport more popular in the Philippines and Asia, through the Obstacle Sports Federation for Asia, and instilling the values of a true warrior.
“While we can’t all be Olympians, we can aspire to be an “Olympist” who values Olympics by building better humans.”
The sport is growing in popularity year after year, with a reported 4.5 million participants in 2015 alone, according to USA Today.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the POSF has found an ingenious way to promote the sport by way of the OCR Box, a 12-in-one obstacle facility.
Agra said they have introduced the sport as part of the quality physical education programs of some 15 universities and schools. “We now have 20 obstacle facilities nationwide and will soon have four more Obstacles-in-a-Box as part of our partnership with the PLDT-SMART Foundation.”
As part of his role to promote the sport across Asia, the POSF, through the Obstacle Sports Federation Asia Pacific (OSF AP), POSF will donate OCR Boxes to Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
Even during the pandemic, Agra said they have not slowed down. “With or without the pandemic, the POSF will continue to thrive and create opportunities from adversities – Advertunities.”
One of the obstacles that can be found in the OCR box is the Monkey Bars where a participant needs to conquer a series of parallel bars by applying a firm grip of the bars and swinging forward.
Agra said the OCR Boxes are also intended for vulnerable and marginalized kids in the Philippines. “Through obstacle sports, the youth are trained to be more resilient, to be productive of their time and to channel their energy and passion for sports, especially during this Coronavirus pandemic.”
The Filipino Obstacle Sport athletes had a grand showcase during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games by sweeping all the six gold medals.
Despite not being included in the Vietnam SEA Games and the Asian Games slate for this year, the POSF has a busy calendar locally and internationally.
These include three inaugural events for ninja and OCR short athletes.
Lined up are the qualifying event for the Ultimate Ninja Athletic Association World Championship on March 4 to 6 at the Obstacle Sports Factory, and the Obstacle Course Race 400M and the OCR 800 on May 14 to 15 at the Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus, Cavite, which will also serve as qualifier to the World Championships in Moscow, Russia late this year.
The event in Vermosa has participants try to conquer 12/ 24 obstacles spread along the track oval.
Winners will qualify for the World Championships in Moscow, Russia tentatively set this August, OSF AP Asian Championships in Bahrain this November, and OSF AP Southeast Asian Championships in Malaysia this October.
The POSF will also hold the Altitude OCR competition in Mount Pulag, the country’s second-highest peak, on March 25-27. The winners will represent the Philippines in the World Championships in Mt. Everest in Nepal in November and the World Finals in Mount Toubkal in Morroco in August.
The highlight of this year’s POSF calendar is the attempt for Guinness World Records.
In another first for World Obstacle, the international federation, two world records will be at stake when the Philippine Open holds an OCR 100M event on April 10 at Arcovia, Pasig.
Participants will have to run a 100-meter course and hurdle 12 obstacles. Leading the Philippine’s charge are Kevin Pascua and Rochelle Suarez, gold medalists in the men and women Ninja 100 events in the 2019 Philippine SEA Games.
Local and foreign athletes will try to break the World Obstacle records of 29.92 (male) and 49.70 seconds (female) by Pascua and Suarez, respectively.