Cambodia sports lineup a major concern for PH
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) sees Team Philippines needing to climb a truly steep mountain in Cambodia in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games as the hosts have come up with ridiculous provisions across all 49 sports in the calendar.
POC president Bambol Tolentino said the restrictions that would be enforced in 608 events would narrow the Filipinos’ chances of winning medals while strongly favoring the host country’s bid to secure a fighting spot in the overall tally.
Cambodian organizers put the cap on the participation of male athletes from other countries in seven out of 10 events while female athletes can only play in four out of six events in every sport.
While imposing that rule on entries in combat sports and martial arts seemed acceptable, Tolentino finds it odd that the same policy has to be applied to noncontact sports as well.
“Even traditional boat racing and esports were not spared. These are noncombat sports. I protested, but at the end of the day, it was brushed aside by the organizers,’’ said Tolentino.
Vietnam, however, could benefit from Cambodia’s lineup of sports with 30 gold medals at stake in vovinam, an indigenous Vietnamese martial art.
“Cambodia could be chasing either second to fourth [overall],’’ said Tolentino.
Staging the 11-nation sportsfest on its turf for the first time, Cambodia was never a title contender in the SEA Games, having consistently figured in a tight battle with Myanmar for either seventh or eighth place overall.
Cambodia will host the biggest SEA Games on May 5 to 16 in Phnom Penh, far bigger than the 530 events in 56 sports that the Philippines staged in 2019. INQ