Track events intact for KL SEA Games
TRACK and field events in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games have remained intact after all, stamping out fears that the gold-medal chances of the Philippines in athletics could diminish.
Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico got the assurance from Malaysian Athletics Association head Karim Ibrahim that all 46 events in track and field will be played during next year’s Games in Kuala Lumpur.
“Ibrahim belied reports that marathon and steeplechase, among others, would be scrapped from the SEA Games,” said Juico, president of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
Initial reports emanating from the Malaysian Olympic Committee indicated that decathlon, pentathlon, steeplechase and marathon were recommended for scrapping for a number of reasons, among them lack of facilities and competitors.
Filipino tracksters captured five gold medals in the 2015 Singapore edition with Eric Shauwn Cray defending his 400-meter hurdles title and winning the 100m dash in record-breaking fashion to become the fastest man in the region.
While Kuala Lumpur is busy preparing for the Aug. 19 to 31 Games, the Philippines is starting to lay out its plans for the 2019 hosting, most likely to be held in Mindanao and the Visayas.
In a recent meeting with Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. pitched the idea of bringing the hosting of the SEA Games to Davao City.
Cojuangco said setting up the hub of the Games in the highly urbanized city south of Mindanao will be received with much enthusiasm since President Duterte hails from the province.
To start the ball rolling, the local Olympic chief has invited Ramirez to join them in the SEA Games Federation Council Meeting on July 12 in Kuala Lumpur where the Philippine government is required to guarantee the hosting three years from now.
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