Tampa's Sister City Wild About Sports

How well do Tampans know their South American sister city, Barranquilla? Probably not well enough. The following is the first of three articles about that city.


Tribune Staff Writer

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia - Tampa's sister city - is wild about sports.

Just as thousands of Tampans displayed their enthusiasm recently at the dedication of the new Tampa Stadium, Barranquillans have been steady fans of their soccer and baseball teams and of bull fighting.

Elias (Amigo) Chegwin, Barranquilla's unofficial ambassador to Tampa, said: "Anyone with five per cent Spanish blood loves the bullfight, but nothing is greater than soccer."

Tampa is Barranquilla's second adopted city. The first is Modesto, California, but the mayor of Barranquilla decided that there were more things in common between Tampa and Barranquilla.

In June 1966, in response to a letter from the mayor of Barranquilla, the Tampa city council passed a resolution naming Barranquilla its sister city.

The sister city program came out of President Eisenhower's People to People Program in 1956 to promote an educational and cultural exchange through direct personal contact with people of a foreign city.

Barranquilla, the fourth largest city in Colombia population is over 500,000 people, has the fans to support the large athletic events.

Every year in April thousands of Barranquillans flock to the Barranquilla Tennis Tournament featuring top world tennis players.

In February, Barranquilla holds the largest carnival in Colombia. It is not uncommon for 200,000 people to participate in the celebrations.

Colombian teenagers surf at the unusual Pradomar Beach. One section of the beach is calm while only a few hundred feet away a combination of currents and surf can take the surfer on a wild ride.

Other favorite sports include almost unrestricted hunting and fishing. No license is required.

Supporting these recreational facilities is an industrial complex that serves more than three million people in the northern coastal area. Chief industries are textiles, lumber, flour mills, steel, and cement.