Puig Arrives Saturday, Big Public Event to Take Place Tuesday
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rican tennis player and Olympic gold medalist, Mónica Puig, will arrive to the island on Saturday at 5 p.m., but would only be received by government officials at the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport.
“Mónica wants to celebrate along the rest of the [Puerto Rico Olympic] delegation,” said Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (Copur by its Spanish acronym) President Sara Rosario via Skype from Rio de Janeiro, while confirming that the mass public event will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Puerto Rico Coliseum.
Rosario noted how it was the request of the Puerto Rican tennis player to wait until the arrival of the rest of the island’s delegation, which will take place Monday.
For his part, the Puerto Rico Tennis Federation President Humberto Torres noted how Puig also wants to spend time with her family during her stay at the island and continue practicing toward the U.S. Open. The year’s last Grand Slam begins Aug. 29 and would be Puig’s first event following her gold medal at Rio.
Public Affairs Secretary Jesús Manuel Ortiz said the tennis player will be received Saturday by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and First Lady Wilma Pastrana, with a press conference taking place thereafter at the Muñoz Marín Airport. Athletes arriving on Monday will be also received at the airport by the governor.
As for the logistics of Tuesday’s event at the Puerto Rico Coliseum, the officials said they are still working on logistics, and will provide more details later. Rosario said there will be a caravan, but no route has yet to be drawn although she acknowledged that time constraints could prompt a short, direct route to the Coliseum.
Tuesday’s activity will be funded by Copur’s private funds, and not public funds, along with other private sponsorships, Rosario said to Caribbean Business’ questions. “It would be a very modest budget compared to the activity that we want to hold next Tuesday,” she noted.
For his part, Ortiz stressed that the García Padilla administration “is supporting Copur 100% with the event,” adding that a government interagency task force was created to assist Copur in organizing the activity.
When asked about those who see the investment of public funds in sports as a negative cost, Recreation & Sports Department Secretary Ramón Orta exhorted them to “attend and feel what will take place Tuesday, Aug. 23,” adding that it is almost impossible to quantify the cost-effectiveness of the investments made by the government in sports.
“The people’s perception [on the matter] is there. You can’t measure its impact on dollars and cents,” he said.