POC likes PH chances in 2015 SEAG

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 23 2014 03:15 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2014 11:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Organizers of the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore are making sure there won’t be any controversy surrounding the sports to be played and the number of events to be contested this year.

According to Philippine Sports Commission chairman Tom Carrasco, Singapore has already lined up 36 sports and 381 events from June 5-16.

It’s the first time Singapore is hosting the SEA Games since 1993 when the hosts finished fourth overall with 50 gold, 60 silver and 74 bronze medals.

In the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, the Singaporeans came in sixth with a haul of 34-29-45, a notch higher than the Philippines with 29-34-38.

Carrasco said the calendar of events lined up by Singapore was well accepted by the 10 other member countries. Of the 36 sports, only netball and floorball were included, and with less than a handful medals at stake.

“These are the only events they added on top of the 34 other events, mostly events being played in the Olympics and the Asian Games,” said Carrasco.

The POC chairman said it’s a far different scenario from the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar where organizers lined up 460 events in 37 sports, including 60 events in vovinam, kempo and chinlone, sports that are rarely played by the other competing countries.

Myanmar scooped up gold medals in these traditional and indigenous sports and went on to finish a very strong second with its 86-62-85 haul, behind overall champion Thailand’s 107-94-81.

It’s a giant leap for Myanmar in the medal standings from seventh in 2011 in Indonesia.

Jose Cojuangco, POC president, strongly protested Myanmar’s calendar of events, saying there’s a tendency to “abuse” the right of the host nation to include as many sports in its bid for a higher placing..

Cojuangco called for changes in the SEA Games set-up, saying there should be a permanent calendar of events that will focus on Olympic sports. He said he doesn’t care if a host country includes as many events in local sports but they should not reflect on the medal tally.

The POC chief did not attend the Games in Myanmar.

Carrasco said Singapore has divided the events into three categories. In Category 1 are compulsory events like athletics and squatics; in Category 2 are the OIympic and Asian Games sports from archery, boxing, football, judo, table tennis and taekwondo; and Category 3 local sports like netball (similar to basketball) and floorball (similar to hockey).

“I believe we have a very good chance in Singapore,” said Carrasco, adding that a couple more events might be included since there are countries lobbying for karatedo, weightlifting and kempo.

“There’s a strong chance for karatedo to make it. But what we have now is 98 percent of the events,” he added.

Carrasco added that Singapore based its selection on three important factors -- budget consideration, the presence of the needed facilities and the popularity of the sports to be played.