PH bats for more Olympic events in SEAG

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 18 2012 09:42 AM | Updated as of Jul 18 2012 05:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - No more than 32 sports disciplines, most of them Olympic sports, will be disputed in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

Steve Hontiveros, secretary-general of the Philippine Olympic Committee, made the announcement yesterday following a three-day meeting of the SEA Games Federation in Myanmar.

"We will not reach more than 32 sports for the next SEA Games," said Hontiveros, who was joined in the meeting by Julian Camacho of wushu, Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis and Dr. Leonora Brawner of archery.

Hontiveros said the SEA Games Federation has agreed to do away with the practice of letting so many indigenous sports into the calendar, most of them benefitting the host country.

"We have agreed that of the 32 events, majority will be Olympic sports. I think that's good for everybody. The number of events was not yet discussed," said Hontiveros.

In the last SEA Games in Indonesia, a total of 44 sports disciplines were played with a record number of 545 events.

The Indonesians included sports like paragliding, wall climbing, roller skating, bridge, futsal and soft tennis while the other countries batted for the inclusion of arnis, muay thai, hockey, netball, petanque, squash, rugby union and cricket.

Sports like kenpo and vovinam, which are non-Olympic sports, were also played in 2011.

Indonesia ran away with the overall title with 182 gold medals, followed by Thailand with 109, Vietnam 96, Malaysia 59, Singapore 42 and the Philippines with 36 golds.

"There should be more Olympic sports. It will not really favor us but it will be good for us," said the POC official.

Hontiveros said the non-inclusion of non-Olympic sports will also enable the member countries to focus their resources on Olympic sports.

"In our case, we don't have to spend so much on non-Olympic sports just because they are being played in the SEA Games," he said.

The practice of giving the host country the right to field events that suit them well was meant to create awareness for the said disciplines.

Hontiveros said the SEA Games Federation will also be stricter regarding its policy where a sport may be included in the calendar as long as at least four countries will participate.

He said the member countries will meet again later this year or just in time for the deadline, which is one year before the event, for the announcement of the total number of sports.