'It's terrible': How foreign press is reporting SEA Games hosting mess

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2019 09:55 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2019 04:42 PM

A sports journalist waits for the press conference in what seems like an unfinished venue before the start of the Malaysia vs. Myanmar men's football game of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila on Monday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - Foreign athletes and media personnel have complained of awful accommodations and accreditation for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, days before the sporting event's official launch.

From hotel reservations, and transportation to served food and media accreditation, members of foreign delegations to the sporting event experienced what they were not expecting from a country that had hosted the Games three times before this year.

Foreign press reported woeful preparations, particularly the ongoing renovation of the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

Here are some of the international reports on the SEA Games:

INDONESIA

  • Indonesian media outlet Suara Indonesia reported that the "Indonesian contingent was neglected at the 2019 SEA Games" after its national polo team waited for three hours at the Ninoy International Airport for transport to their hotel.
  • Indonesian news site detik.com also took notice of the unfinished Rizal Memorial Stadium, asking "why isn't the stadium fixed?"

THAILAND

  • Thailand's Bangkok Post reported Akira Nishino slammed SEA Games organizers for their failure to provide adequate facilities.

    “I would want the players to have a good environment and good perfect meal. I’m wishing the organizers can provide [that] for our team players,” Nishino said, according to Bangkok Post.

  • Fox Sports Asia also reported the Japanese football coach revealed his team had to train on the streets "due to the distance between their hotel and the training pitch."

SINGAPORE

  • Straits Times reported that the Singaporean team sent a letter to organizers, seeking "urgent and immediate attention" to issues experienced by their athletes in the Philippines, such as lack of inadequate food.

MALAYSIA

  • News site The Star Online reported Malaysia's football contingent manager Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said they "would have to manage" since "some stadiums were not completed."

    “The dressing rooms are still under renovation. But, we have a big game against Myanmar tomorrow, and our focus is on that match. We just want a good start,” Kamal said.

CAMBODIA

  • Khmer Post reported that the Cambodian team was in a tragic situation where they slept, after they laid on a function area's floor for almost five hours, waiting for their respective rooms at the hotel.

Cambodian fans were suspicious this was a ploy by the Philippines since both countries' football teams were going to face off hours after their team's arrival.

Some foreign media personnel also encountered accreditation issues for the Games.

PHISGOC has apologized for the inconvenience and confusion on transportation, hotel arrangements, and other complications.

“We acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better,” it said.

House Speaker and PHISGOC Chairman Allan Peter Cayetano also sought understanding.

"Handang handa tayo na magbigay ng world class hosting, but even in world class hostings, tao tayo. Hindi perfect. Doon sa 75 arrivals, a great majority, 95 percent ay medyo natutuwa. For $50 a day, ang gaganda ng hotel na titirahan nila," he said. 

2019 SEA Games