2019 SEAG: More than 30 sports eyed

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By ABAC CORDERO

Af­ter two days of si­mul­ta­ne­ous meet­ings, mem­bers of the South­east Asian Games Fed­er­a­tion put their stamp of ap­proval on 30 sports to be played in the 2019 SEA Games in the Philip­pines.

The num­ber, ac­cord­ing to SEA Games Fed­er­a­tion head and Philip­pine Olympic com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Ricky Var­gas, may reach as many as 44 in time for their next meet­ing in Novem­ber. (Re­lated sto­ries on P22-23)

“We will meet again some­time in Novem­ber to fi­nal­ize the list,” said Var­gas in a lengthy press brief­ing at the Shangri-La at BGC.

Rep. Abra­ham To­lentino, POC chair­man, ex­plained the sig­nif­i­cance of the 30 sports – the next SEA Games be­ing the 30th edi­tion, and it be­ing the campaign pitch of Pres­i­dent Duterte (DU30) dur­ing the 2016 elec­tions.

“That’s why we have 30,” he said dur­ing the brief­ing also at­tended by key of­fi­cials of the Philip­pine SEA Games Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee (PHISGOC), in­clud­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ra­mon Suzara and di­rec­tor gen­eral Patrick Gre­go­rio, and SEA Games ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil mem­bers Celso Dayrit, the for­mer POC pres­i­dent, and Cyn­thia Car­rion.

Er­ick Tho­hir, the Asian Games Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent and a high-pro­file busi­ness­man from Indonesia, joined the head ta­ble, and hailed the suc­cess of the two-day meet­ing.

“Thumbs up to PHISGOC for its hospi­tal­ity and the pre­sen­ta­tion. It’s re­mark­able,” said the VIP from Indonesia.

The list in­cludes ar­nis, ath­let­ics, aquat­ics, archery, bad­minton, base­ball/soft­ball, bas­ket­ball, bil­liards, bowl­ing, box­ing, cy­cling, eques­trian/polo, fenc­ing, foot­ball, golf, gym­nas­tics, judo/ji­u­jitsu, karatedo, sail­ing, sepak takraw, shoot­ing, squash, taek­wondo, triathlon, vol­ley­ball, weightlift­ing, wrestling/ kurash, wushu, ar­nis, dance­s­port and muay.

The Philip­pines will leave no stone un­turned en­sur­ing a suc­cess­ful host­ing, only its fourth in SEA Games his­tory, and at the same time im­prove on its medal rank­ing. Var­gas said he only has two things in mind. “Put our best foot for­ward as hos­pitable hosts and give the best that we can and, sec­ond, im­prove our stand­ings to at least the top three, and best if we get the over­all cham­pi­onship,” he said.

The Philip­pines was third when it hosted the SEA Games in 1981, sec­ond in 1991 and first in 2005, when it won 113 gold medals.

But there’s been a steady de­cline when it comes to the medal stand­ings, and in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, the Philip­pines wound up sixth over­all with a measly 23 gold medals.

“We want to im­prove from sixth to the top three. But if we can get the over­all cham­pi­onships, of course, we will also try to do so,” said Var­gas, near­ing his 100th day as POC pres­i­dent.

JOEY MEN­DOZA

Of­fi­cials of the South­east Asian Games Fed­er­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee join hands at the close of the two-day com­mit­tee and coun­cil meet­ing for the 2019 SEA Games Manila. They are, from left, for­mer POC pres­i­dent Celso Dayrit, Er­ick Tho­hir of indonesia, POC pres­i­dent Ricky Var­gas, Abra­ham To­lentino, Pato Gre­go­rio, Ra­mon Suzara and Cyn­thia Car­rion.

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