Return of arnis, wrestling, dancesport
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.