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Monsour now backs Rizal complex sale

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Makati Rep. Monsour del Rosario, who competed in taekwondo in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, is now singing a different tune relative to the sale of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) and the takeover of a group that intends to turn it into a commercial and residential center.

From being aggressive two months ago, Del Rosario told scribes yesterday that he has been informed that an interested party is looking at preserving major portions of the 9.6-hectare property in the event it acquires it.

“I was told that this group plans to preserve the baseball and football fields and basketball court and won’t demolish everything,” said Del Rosario, citing this reason behind his sudden change of attitude.

“I’m okay with that,” said Del Rosario, 51, who also competed in the world championships and the Asian Games during his prime as the country’s premier practitioner of the sport.

Last week, the city government of Manila came out with a statement, saying the 83-year-old RMSC has grown obsolete and that it is high time for a developer to take over so it can change the city’s landscape.

Two months ago, Del Rosario called on fellow Olympians and national athletes to rally against the proposed sale of the RMSC, citing that its demolition will leave a painful legacy to those who trained and competed within its hallowed walls.

“Just don’t put up a casino or a shopping mall,” said Del Rosario, stressing that he spent precious moments of his life there.

Still, Del Rosario notes that the negotiations will resume after the 29th Southeast Asian Games in August so as not to disrupt the athletes’ training.

Aside from the group of Enrique Razon, another party has expressed desire to acquire the RMSC, according to Del Rosario.

Completed in 1934, the RMSC played host to the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, world basketball championships, epic baseball matches featuring Major League legends, countless world title fights and the lone appearance of The Beatles on local soil in July 1966.