30 sports picked for 30th SEA Games
AS hosts, the Philippines has the luxury of identifying the sports that will propel Filipino athletes to the overall title of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Philippines SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) on Thursday rolled out the initial 30 sports which will most likely give the country the leverage it needs when the 11-nation sportsfest unfolds November 30-December 10 next year.
“We have to improve our standing from sixth to at least top 3,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas at the conclusion of the SEA Games Federation Council meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Taguig.
Mandatory sports such as athletics and aquatics have been listed as well as combat sports judo, jiujitsu, karatedo, taekwondo, boxing, muay, arnis, wushu and wrestling/kurash, disciplines where the Philippine gold-medal production will come from.
Men’s basketball, the country’s perennial gold source, was prioritized in the roster, which included archery, billiards, bowling cycling, fencing, golf, gymnastics, sailing, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and dancesport.
“Let’s show our best foot forward as hospitable hosts and give the best we can,” said Vargas, co-chairman of the organizing committee with foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez.
“It would be best if we can get the overall championship and we will strive to do so,” added Vargas.
The 30 sports, a combination of Olympic and Asian disciplines, were approved by the representatives of the SEAG Federation Council. The POC will still accommodate suggestions for additional sports until June 13.
POC chairman Bambol Tolentino said the opening ceremonies would be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan while the closing rites are set at Clark New City, identified as the hub of the Games.
According to Phisgoc executive director Ramon Suzara, the construction of the venues and facilities at Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga is now in full swing with the completion expected by July next year.
Suzara said they would organize test events for six to seven sports once the venues are finished and simulate the operations of all departments involved in the hosting.
Apart from Clark and Subic where water sports will see action, Suzara said several sports will be held in Metro Manila with Mall of Asia Arena and Cuneta Astrodome hosting basketball while medal-rich boxing, gymnastics, muay and wushu are set to be housed at the Mall of Asia SMX.
“Some venues will be permanent while some venues are temporary. We have also identified facilities that needs to be upgraded and refurbished,” said Suzara.
He added bowling would be held at the Coronado Lanes at Starmall, billiards at the Makati Cinema Square and Manila Polo Club would be the home of equestrian and squash. —