POC targets 20 Olympic sports in SEA GamesBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AIMING to eliminate some of the built-in advantages enjoyed by every host country, the Philippine Olympic Committee is campaigning for the inclusion of more Olympic sports in the Southeast Asian Games.
POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros said yesterday they would lobby for the inclusion of at least 20 Olympic disciplines in future editions of the SEA Games, starting with next year’s biennial competitions in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
The POC will make the pitch during the SEA Games Federation meeting on July 14 and 15 when representatives from the 11 member countries discuss the lineup of events in Myanmar from the 30 sports already penciled.
“We should mandate the host (country) to include a minimum of 20 (Olympic) sports,” said Hontiveros, who is scheduled to leave on July 12 together with POC chair Monico Puentevella, treasurer Julian Camacho and board member Jeff Tamayo.
“That way, Olympic sports will have more weight to determine the overall champion.”
By tradition, host countries pick the roster of sports where they could gain success and bag the overall championship.
Hontiveros said he would also suggest limiting to two the number of sports favored by the host to avoid a deluge of medals from disciplines unfamiliar to the majority.
Indonesia, last year’s host, entered 44 sports (545 events), including indigenous disciplines vovinam and kenpo, on top of bridge, para-gliding, roller skating, sport climbing and water skiing.
As a result, the Indonesians romped away with 182 gold medals compared to Thailand’s second-place effort of 109 golds.