Host Burma (Myanmar) seems bent on including a number of indigenous sports while excluding five Olympic events to boost its campaign in the Southeast Asian Games this December.
Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Steve Hontiveros said during Friday’s Scoop sa Kamayan that the country will contest plans by the Burmese to include vovinam, tarungderajat, kempo and chin lone while scrapping water polo, badminton, gymnastics, table tennis and lawn tennis in the calendar of events for the Dec. 11 to 22 SEAG to be held in Naypyidaw City.
Hontiveros will lead the four-man POC panel that will represent the country in the SEAG Federation meeting on Jan. 29 in Myanmar to decide the final competition roster.
Hontiveros, the former bowling chief who now heads handball, said the proposed new sports have a total of 58 gold medals that could easily go to the host country which placed seventh overall two years ago behind the Philippines.
“Should we fail in our attempt to scratch these events, we will in effect be losing at least 58 gold medals of the 444 at stake in Myanmar,” said Hontiveros.
Chin lone, kempo and tarungarajat are indigenous combat sports, while vovinam is similar to petanque, which is almost like lawn balls.
“There also a pair of proposals to increase the events to be contested in canoe-kayak which will have 16 gold medals to be disputed this year, and traditional boat race which has eight,” Hontiveros said. “Both sports are expected to be dominated by athletes from the host country.”