Re­turn of ar­nis, wrestling, dance­s­port

Manila Bulletin - - Sports News - By JEROME LAGUNZAD RICKY VAR­GAS

Ar­nis, the coun­try’s na­tional sport, plus wrestling/kurash and dance­s­port will make their re­turn to the South­east Asian (SEA) Games when the coun­try serves as host of the bi­en­nial re­gional meet from Nov. 30 to Dec. 10 next year.

The three sports dis­ci­plines, left out in last year’s edi­tion in Kuala Lumpur, were part of the ini­tial list of 30 pre­ferred sports which the host se­lected and, in the process, ap­proved by the SEAG Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil dur­ing its two-day meet­ing here in Manila.

“It was a pro­duc­tive two-day meet­ing for us,” said Philip­pine Olympic Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent and SEA Games Fed­er­a­tion head Ricky Var­gas yes­ter­day at the Shangri-La in Boni­fa­cio Global City.

Also in­cluded in the list are bas­ket­ball and volleyball, ar­guably the top two pop­u­lar sports in the coun­try, as well as com­pul­sory sports – ath­let­ics and aquat­ics.

Also on tap are archery, bad­minton, base­ball/softball, bil­liards, bowl­ing (tenpin), box­ing, cycling, equestrian/polo, fenc­ing, football, golf, gym­nas­tics, judo/ ji­u­jitsu, karatedo, sail­ing, sepak takraw, shoot­ing, squash, taek­wondo, triathlon, weightlift­ing, wushu and muay thai.

How­ever, Var­gas ad­mit­ted that his 10 coun­ter­parts in the re­gion could still lobby for ad­di­tional sports which they want to be con­sid­ered by sub­mit­ting for­mal re­quests on or be­fore June 13.

The fi­nal list of the sports that will be fea­tured in the coun­try’s fourth host­ing of the re­gional sport­ing con­clave, which will have Clark Green City in Ca­pas, Tar­lac as main hub, will be an­nounced in the sec­ond SEAG Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil Meet­ing in Novem­ber.

“The plans are set and the plans are there. We just have to move for­ward and ex­e­cute well,” added Var­gas, who shared cen­ter stage with his In­done­sian coun­ter­part and 2018 Asian Games Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee chief Erick Tho­hir.

Also pre­sent dur­ing the brief­ing were for­mer POC pres­i­dent Celso Dayrit and Philip­pine South­east Asian Games Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee (PHISGOC) ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tats Suzara as well as POC chair­man Bam­bol To­lentino and POC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Pato Gre­go­rio. “I give thumbs-up to PHISGOC. I think the Philip­pines will try to or­ga­nize the big­gest SEA Games ever and that will be re­mark­able,” said Tho­hir, who also ex­pressed high hopes that the coun­try can host larger-scale sport­ing meets, like the Asian Games, in the near fu­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to Var­gas, the PHISGOC is con­sid­er­ing the Philip­pine Arena as the main op­tion for the open­ing cer­e­mony if and when the planned coli­seum in­side the sprawl­ing Clark Green City won’t be ready in time for the Games.

Suzara also dis­closed bas­ket­ball events will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena and the Cuneta Astrodome while volleyball matches will be played at the SmartAraneta Coli­seum. The SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter will be the bat­tle­ground of sev­eral combat sports like box­ing, muay thai, and wushu as well as gym­nas­tics.

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