15 Jun Sports in Bogotá
Sports in Bogotá
Bogotá is an enormous metropolis with suburbs, its population currently being around 10 million. An interesting fact, the city lies over 2600 meters above sea-level on top of the Bogotá savanna. A great innovation the city has is called “Ciclovía”. Every Sunday between 7 am and 2 pm, several of the city’s largest roads are closed down, giving space to runners, pedestrians and cyclists to roam around safely. The atmosphere of these Sundays is idyllic and both the city’s young and the old use this opportunity to exercise. What makes this kind of exercise hard for my system is the 2600 m difference in height compared to back home in Hungary. It’s hard for a guy from the lowlands to get used to running in the highlands.
Also very positive is the fact that there are tons of opportunities for doing sports out in the fresh air, such as basketball courts, football fields and simple outdoor fitness machines.
In Colombia – as is the case in every Latin American country – football is the number one national sport. Since, along with handball, football is my favourite sport, it was obvious from the get-go that I would attend local matches. There are 2 rival clubs in Bogotá: Santa Fé and the Millonarios. They play in the same stadium, the ‘Estadio El Campín’. I tend to cheer for Santa Fé, I brought them luck as well, since at the first match I attended they won the second half of the championship (‘Clausura 2016’).
I’d like to also mention a few interesting and useful facts here:
- You can only buy tickets in person for the matches (for the Santa Fé and Millonarios ones anyway). They start selling them a few days before the matches in various parts of Bogotá – it’s good to follow their Facebook pages, they post info on there regarding ticket sales.
- Non-discounted tickets for the championship final match between Santa Fé and Deportivo Tolima (there are still discounted tickets for kids and season ticket holders) were between 40 000 and 400 000 COP (13 and 130 Euros). Tickets for the semi-finals were about half that price.
- Semi-finals: Atlético Nacional is the most popular team of the country (green-white team of Medellin). They won the Libertadores Cup in 2016 (South American Champion’s League), which meant they could take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2016 along with 2016 Champion’s League winner Real Madrid. Interesting fact? At the first game with a home field advantage, Santa Fé played 1-1 against Atlético. At a match a few days later they won 4-0 easily against the Atlético reserve since the 22 players of the first team and the technical staff have already been training in Japan for the Club World Cup (where, by the way, they lost in the semi-finals against the Japanese).
- The atmosphere in the stadium is typically South American. The whole stadium is cheering for their team on their feet; a soccer match is considered a real celebration.
- The police take away your coins and belt (!!) at the entrance since these items are prohibited from the premises of the stadium. It’s also pretty hard to find alcohol inside during matches (depends on the match). For those of you who like soccer, going to a match is a must, especially if the team is in the playoffs or playing an international cup match. It’s important to arrive in time, since seating is on a first come first serve basis.