Excluded sports seek reconsideration from Vietnam organizers
Several sports will make a case before Vietnam organizers after they were stricken out from the calendar for next year’s 31st Southeast Asian Games.
Top Filipino officials from Olympic sports triathlon, modern pentathlon, skateboarding and rugby sevens will ask for reconsideration like arnis, the Philippines’ national martial art, which amassed the largest stockpile of gold medals during the country’s 2019 hosting of the Games.
“We have to appeal [for inclusion]. Vietnam did very well in our SEA Games, winning four golds and a dozen silvers,’’ Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation chair and president, told the Inquirer on Tuesday. “They are the strongest team in Southeast Asia next to the Philippines, so it makes no sense why they won’t do it.’’
Filipino arnis bets collected 14 out of the 20 gold medals staked last year and became, hands down, the biggest contributor to the Philippines’ runaway win in the overall title race.
Carl Sambrano, Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines president, will likewise push for the inclusion of their sport after Filipino skaters led by Margielyn Didal claimed six golds last year in Tagaytay City.
“Skateboarding was the Olympic sport with the most medals for the Philippines in the last SEA Games. We should appeal and we will,’’ Sambrano said.
Echoing the sentiments of Sambrano are triathlon president Tom Carrasco and modern pentathlon (MP) chief Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, after both grabbed three and two gold medals, respectively.
“We don’t want to waste the potential of our athletes. I already wrote our IF (international federation) UIPM (Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne) to lobby for the inclusion by urging the NSA (national sport association) in Vietnam to work on having MP included,’’ Gomez said.
“We will submit a letter though we recognize that it will be challenging since Vietnam doesn’t have an NSA for rugby there,’’ added Philippine Rugby Union secretary general Ada Milby.
Only 36 sports have been initially penciled by Vietnam for the Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 Games in Hanoi, excluding 15 other sports that the Filipinos dominated with 56 out of their 149 gold medal total.
In another development, the Philippine Sports Commission has discovered a “payroll-padding’’ scheme on the monthly allowances of coaches and athletes, prompting the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the anomaly. INQ
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