Retaining overall SEA Games title in Vietnam ‘an uphill battle,’ admits PSC chief
Even the government is convinced that retaining the overall plum of the Southeast Asian Games on foreign terrain will be a tough act to match.
Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez agreed that duplicating the feat of Filipino athletes in the Games hosted by the country last year will be very challenging in Vietnam.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle for us. The host country definitely has the advantage since it will be held in their territory,” said Ramirez.
The 31st SEA Games has been set from Nov. 21-Dec. 2 next year in Hanoi with Vietnam organizers planning to host 36 sports, 20 sports short when the Philippines captured the overall title on home turf in 2019.
“Majority of the sports that were excluded in the list contributed heavily for Team Philippines last year,” said Ramirez.
Fifteen of those 20 sports produced 56 gold medals for Team Philippines, more than a third of the 149 golds that propelled the nation to the runaway win over Vietnam’s 98 golds.
“But I’m certain that our athletes will come in prepared and give their best to make us proud,” said Ramirez.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino shared the observation of Ramirez and has been lobbying for the sports that were stricken off Vietnam’s calendar.
Olympic disciplines triathlon, sailing, rugby sevens, skateboarding and surfing didn’t make it in the initial list.
Also failing to meet the cut were jiujitsu, baseball/softball, soft tennis, obstacle racing, duathlon, esports, sambo, windsurfing, wakeboarding/water skiing and arnis, which generated 14 gold medals for Team Philippines last time out.
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