Despite interest from PH, Thais lobbying for 2019 SEA Games hosting
SINGAPORE — Thailand sports officials, led by the country’s deputy prime minister, are lobbying hard to be the host of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that Brunei gave up.
This was revealed Monday by Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Steve Hontiveros who said the Filipino officials stood their ground despite the expression of interest by Thai top brass Gen. Yuthasak Sasiprapha, who is also the country’s national Olympic committee chief.
“They really wanted it, but I told Cong (POC chief Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr.) that it’s already ours.”
Thailand, which has hosted the Games several times in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima, clearly got the edge in terms of sports facilities and organization.
The country also has moral high ground being the consistent overall power in the biennial games. Thailand is set to win the games for the second straight time with a 90-83-68 gold-silver-bronze tally as of posting.
Hontiveros said in case the POC fails to get the nod of President Benigno Aquino III, they can reach out to local mayors to help host the SEA Games.
“We can asked Manila, Makati and other cities to be host,” said Hotiveros.
Singapore has reportedly spent SG$300 million just for the operations of the three-week spectacle that coincided with its 50th foundation.
He added that if and when the SEAG Federation, whose leadership will then be transferred to 2017 host Malaysia, gets down to decide the 2019 host, they are confident it would favor the Philippines. CFC