SEA Games organizers deal with arrivals, stranded teams as flights disrupted

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2019 03:59 PM

MANILA—Several foreign athletes who are done competing in the Southeast Asian Games were stranded here Tuesday, after typhoon Tisoy prompted the closure of the Philippines' main airport in the capital, a tournament official said.

Myanmar's arnis team and Indonesian triathlon, wushu, kurash, and basketball players were supposed to depart for their home countries today, but their flights were cancelled due to bad weather, said Ramon Suzara, chief operating officer of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).

The athletes from Myanmar have been booked in a hotel across the airport, he told reporters.

Indonesian delegates are still on standby in case the airport reopens before midnight, but the accommodation team is ready in case they need to stay for one more night, he said.

"We are making sure that the Indonesian delegates that will be departing tonight back to Jakarta will be taken care of," Suzara said.

MORE PLAYERS COMING

SEA Games officials are also preparing to receive a "big bulk" of foreign delegates on Wednesday or as soon as airport operations resume, Suzara added.

Basketball teams from Indonesia and Thailand are expected to arrive in Manila early Wednesday to make it in time for practice sessions on the same day.

"We are all now preparing the contingencies. We are just waiting for the resumption of flights hopefully by midnight," he said.

Suzara clarified that teams who could not arrive in time for the tournament due to flight delays would "not be forfeited" from participating in the games.

"They will not be forfeited because technical delegates are aware of these conditions," he said.

"We make sure that athletes are arriving on time. That is part of our role as organizers."

Tisoy, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, slammed parts of Bicol with harsh winds and intense rains early Tuesday.

It will make a second landfall in Mindoro, and affect Metro Manila and Central Luzon provinces where several SEA Games venues are located, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.

Officials have rescheduled several events to ensure that play fields are safe for both athletes and spectators, Suzara said.

The typhoon is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Thursday.

2019 SEA Games