The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) reinstated wrestling to the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Wednesday after receiving a letter from United World Wrestling (UWW) Secretary-General Michel Dusson.
In a document given by Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) President Alvin Aguilar to The Manila Times, Phisgoc Chief Operating Officer Ramon Suzara confirmed the reinstatement of the original Olympic sports to the 2019 SEA Games.
“We want to thank [Congressman Abraham] ‘Bambol’ [Tolentino] and Mr. Ramon Suzara for reinstating wrestling. They helped us fix this problem. They really know how important wrestling is,” Aguilar said. “We’ll be moving forward now to our SEA Games preparation and hoping this won’t happen again.”
The UWW’s letter to the Phisgoc confirmed the endorsement of Daulet Turlykhanov as the assigned technical delegate to wrestling for this year’s SEA Games that the Philippines will be hosting from November through December.
The Phisgoc, on August 26, delisted wrestling as one of the sports to be played in SEA Games after failing to secure an authorization letter from the UWW as part of the requirement by the SEA Games Federation Charter.
Aguilar blamed Phisgoc Executive Director Tom Carrasco for the fiasco and for the removal of certain important events like grappling. Carrasco, the president of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines, denied all the allegations.
The founding father of mixed martial arts in the Philippines said wrestling would absolutely be the host’s gold mine if only all his proposed 25 events were approved. Only 14 of his proposed events were approved by the Phisgoc.
Aguilar said the WAP won 35 gold medals in the Southeast Asian Championship in San Pablo, Laguna in November last year, which was also contested by powerhouses Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.
“We are fighting the exact same people that’s why Carrasco wasted all our entries,” he added.
Prior to the UWW’s letter, Tolentino, who is also the Philippine Olympic Committee president, told the Phisgoc to bring wrestling back to the calendar of sports to be played in the biennial meet that unfolds on November 31 to December 11.
The SEA Games’ wrestling competition will be played at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga on December 9 to 10, with 14 events in men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman, and women’s freestyle.