Tom shuts door on equestrian

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Former Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco is beating a dead horse by insisting that equestrian could be reinstated in the roster of sports that would be played in the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year.

But Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) sports and rules committee member Tom Carrasco stressed that they are no longer entertaining any appeal.
Carrasco, the POC chairman during the tailend of Cojuangco’s 14-year reign in the local Olympic movement, said the 56 sports that would be played in the prestigious biennial meet are already final.

The only changes, he said, are the six new sports like kurash, eSports, surfing, skateboarding and jiu-jitsu, who were given until 7 December to submit their respective application forms complete with endorsements either from their international federations or Asian bodies.

They also have to present World Anti-Doping Agency compliance documents and submit it to the SEA Games Federation Council office in Bangkok.

Carrasco said jiu-jitsu and surfing already complied.

“We’re confident that the rest will comply before 7 December,” said Carrasco, adding that doors of the SEA Games are already closed for other entries like equestrian.

“The list is already final. So I doubt if equestrian will be included.”

In a previous statement, Cojuangco admitted that he took the floor during the SEA Games Federation Council meeting over the weekend to express his disgust over the scratching of equestrian from the 56 sports provisionally approved by the powerful assembly.

He said POC president Ricky Vargas was unaware that his sport was delisted so he vowed that he would do something about it.

It isn’t the first time that a furor was raised over the roster of sports.

Shortly after the SEA Games Council meeting in Bangkok that was attended by another former POC president in Celso Dayrit two months ago, netball and handball also cried foul over their removal.

Netball president Charlie Ho and handball chief Steve Hontiveros said there were no consultations and the SEA Games sports and rules committee headed by POC chairman Abraham Tolentino didn’t give them a chance to lobby for their inclusion.

They were given the green light to join after a dialogue with Vargas.

Now, Cojuangco is hoping that Vargas would do the same.

“Apparently, Mr. Ricky Vargas was not aware that equestrian was not included. So I talked to him and he promised that he would do something about it,” Cojuangco told Daily Tribune in an interview.

POC sources claimed that equestrian was delisted due to the massive expenses that organizers would incur from the freight of the horses to their quarantine, handling, grooming and construction of training and competition venues.

Cojuangco said a ranking executive of Phisgoc informed him that the total cost of hosting equestrian would be around P60 million.

“That’s too much. If I would be asked, we can host equestrian without spending that much,” he said, wondering why polo was included while equestrian was dropped.

“But the problem is they didn’t ask me or any from our federation. There were no consultations whatsoever. I just learned from the Council meeting that we’re not included.”

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