PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino disclosed to The Manila Times on Sunday morning that merely 36 sports have been proposed to be played at the biennial Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam in 2021 due to the dangers of the pandemic.
This was discussed when the POC president attended the first online SEA Games Council Federation meeting last Thursday.
Apart from the compulsory sports of athletics and aquatics, included in the prospective roster are archery, badminton, 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 basketball, boxing, billiards and snooker, canoe or kayak, chess, xiangqi (Chinese chess) and road cycling or mountain biking.
Other recommendations included dancesport; fencing; football; futsal; golf; artistic, rhythmic and aerobic gymnastics; indoor and beach handball; judo; karate; muay thai, pencak silat, pétanque; rowing; sepak takraw; pistol, rifle and shotgun shooting; table tennis; taekwondo and tennis.
Indoor and beach volleyball, weightlifting, greco roman and freestyle wrestling, finswimming, bodybuilding, wushu, kurash, kickboxing and vovinam (Vietnamese martial arts) were other suggestions on the list.
In a separate interview on Sunday, POC Secretary General Edwin Gastanes clarified that the initial list was still a proposal from Vietnam, and he expects that other SEA nations will appeal for the inclusion of other cultural sports.
“That’s the proposal of Vietnam. I expect that other countries in the Asean will make some request or appeal for the inclusion of the other sports. It happens every SEA Games meeting just like with us [last year],” said Gastanes, who is also the Philippine Football Federation secretary general.
“We are still finalizing what sports to appeal,” he added, revealing that the next SEA Games Council Federation meeting will be on July 21.
Last year, the Philippines hosted 56 games at the 30th Southeast Asian Games from November 30 to December 11 in Metro Manila and at New Clark City.
The country became the overall champion with 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals, surpassing the nation’s 2005 SEA Games tally of 113 gold, 85 silver and 93 bronze medals that also made the Philippines the overall champion.
Unfortunately, the Philippine martial art of arnis has been struck from the roster of sports next year although dancesport remains.
In 2019, the Philippine arnis contingent snatched 14 out of 20 gold medals to be won while the national dancesport team nabbed 10 out of 14 gold medals.
Aside from arnis, the Vietnamese list also scrapped squash, obstacle course, triathlon, skateboarding, jiujitsu, esports, sailing, soft tennis, sambo (international wrestling), surfing, rugby, wakeboarding, pentathlon, windsurfing, baseball, softball and duathlon.
The Philippines won 58 gold medals in those sporting events when it hosted the biennial meet.
If Vietnam’s 36-sport-proposal is approved, the odds are lower that the Philippines will win a second straight overall crown at the 31st SEA Games.