SEA Games: Maximum of 4 sports to be added to original 36 in Hanoi
A total of 450 events from 36 sports have been finalized by organizers for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam next year with only four expected to be added which definitely doesn’t serve Team Philippines well in its overall title-retention bid.
“We have appealed for the inclusion of several sports. They (Vietnam organizers) might accept four more sports based on the proposals of eight countries,’’ said Philippine Olympic Committee president and Cavite representative Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino on Thursday after attending the virtual meeting of the SEA Games Federation.
At least 15 sports where Filipino athletes delivered 56 gold medals that helped propel Team Philippines to the overall title last year were excluded by Vietnam from the list.
Olympic sports rugby sevens and surfing didn’t make it together with jiujitsu, baseball/softball, soft tennis, duathlon, windsurfing and wakeboarding/water skiing.
Team Philippines won a total of 149 gold medals last year, a record, as it maximized being the host by adding events where Filipinos are strong at.
Among the sports that Tolentino has been lobbying for are Olympic sports triathlon, skateboarding and modern pentathlon as well as obstacle racing, sambo and esports, all of which produced multiple gold medals for the Philippines in the previous SEAG.
Tolentino, the PhilCycling president, also pushed for the organizers to reconsider BMX cycling and arnis, the country’s national martial art that generated 14 golds for Team Philippines.
He pointed out the four sports that Vietnam has been looking to add to the calendar during the Nov. 21-Dec. 2, 2021 Games in Hanoi have been kept under wraps by the organizers, who will approve of additions only if majority of the countries petition for them.
“I wish I knew the four sports that Vietnam are considering to include,’’ said Tolentino, who told the Inquirer in an interview last week that he would feel lucky “if we can get two (additions).”
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