SINGAPORE: Floorball, a hockey-like game popular in Singapore, will make its debut in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games hosted by the city-state, while karate, weightlifting and
wrestling are out, organisers said.
There will be 402 gold in 36 sports, including equestrian events, waterskiing and rowing, in the regional biennial games, the Singapore National Olympic Council said.
Council secretary-general Chris Chan said hosts Singapore added six more sports from the initial 30 after appeals from member countries of the SEA Games Federation.
Chan said Singapore cannot please everyone in including more events but stressed that the sports picked are not “mickey mouse” events.
“Of the 36, 34 are Asian games sports, 24 are Olympic sports,” Chan told reporters.
Only two sports, floorball and netball, are outside the two main categories, he said.
Floorball will be included as a medal event for the first time. It was a demonstration sport when Myanmar hosted the SEA Games in 2013.
The sport was developed in the 1970s in Sweden and is popular in Scandinavia. It is also growing in popularity in some parts of Asia and the US. It is an indoor game and combines elements of hockey and football. There are five field players and one goalkeeper on each team.
Netball will also be included for the first time since it debuted in Malaysia in 2001.
Countries hosting the SEA Games tend to pick sports in which they are strong in to ensure a high medals tally for the home country.
In 2011, Myanmar debuted Chinlone, a sport that involves six players keeping a rattan ball above the ground using any parts of their body except their hands while they walk around in a circle.
The SEA Games is a smorgasbord of different sports ranging from the popular football, swimming and athletics to the more exotic Sepak Takraw and Wushu —which are passionately followed in this part of the world.
The Games will be held from June 5-16. Singapore last hosted the event in 1993.
They involve all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam— plus non-Asean state East Timor which first participated in the Games in 2003.