Limit SEAG to Olympic sports, POC to urge body

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 03 2012 02:16 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2012 10:16 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Olympic Committee officials will urge the Southeast Asian Games Federation to confine the SEAG calendar mostly to Olympic sports and limit the inclusion of indigenous sports/games that are popular only in the region to jack up the competitive level of the biennial joust.

"We'll try to bat for it when we attend the SEAG Federation meeting on July 14-15 in Myanmar," said POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros, who will be part of the Phl delegation to the meet alongside POC chairman Monico Puentevella, treasurer Julian Camacho, and board member Jeff Tamayo.

Olympic sports are regularly included in the SEAG program but the actual number varies per staging, mostly depending on the host. Non-Olympic sports like bowling, billiards, and dragonboat are also normally inserted as well as regional games such as vovinam, kenpo, paragliding, bridge and other sports native to the host nation.

"Let's say out of 28 Olympic sports, we should mandate the host to at least include 20. That way, Olympic sports will have more weight in determining the overall champion. If you're good in Olympic sports, then you have a good shot at the overall title already," Hontiveros said.

"We can then put in at least six sports played in the Asian level. As to the 'other sports' my suggestion is to allow the host country to hold two such sports of their choice. Depending on the capability of the host to hold as many sports, we may increase the number of Olympic sports to more than 20 but let's try to limit the others," he added.

Myanmar, host of the next SEAG in 2013, intends to hold 28-32 sports in its first turn at hosting.

Meanwhile, the newest member of the Philippine Sports Commission board, commissioner Iggy Clavecilla, said he's still feeling his way around but promised to build a harmonious working relationship with national sports associations assigned to him.

"I'm meeting with NSAs heads to know their programs, and I'm specially interested in development, recruitment policies, future competitions," said Clavecilla, who's assigned to the NSAs of arnis, basketball, bowling, football, shooting, volleyball, swimming, boxing, and lawn bowls, among others.

"We'll see how we can work harmoniously," he added.

One of Clavecilla's early concerns is the plight of the Phl women's basketball team, which doesn’t get as much support as its male counterparts.

"Gilas coach Chot Reyes, a good friend of mine, pleaded on behalf of the ladies team. He said don’t mind the men's team because it's already well taken care of; help the ladies team instead. So one of these days, I'll meet with (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director) Sonny Barrios to see how we can support the ladies team," he said.