The biggest ever staging of the Southeast Asian Games looms as the SEA Games Federation Council approved all sports proposed for inclusion by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
In a meeting at the SEA Games Federation Council headquarters in Bangkok over the weekend, the powerful body issued provisional approval on the inclusion of 56 sports, including floor ball, vovinam and indoor hockey, when the country hosts the 30th edition of the Games next year.
POC chairman Abraham Tolentino said the approval is a positive development that validates the inclusion of 30 sports during the SEA Games Council’s first meeting in Manila in May.
POC president Ricky Vargas was also elated by the development, but stressed that everything will be formalized when the Council meets again on 22 November.
“I look forward to the final approval of these recommended sports this November,” said Vargas, adding that the approval will be based on the logistics and capacity of national sports associations to host their respective sports.
“This is already the maximum number, so there can no longer be any addition, but this could be lessened.”
Should all 56 sports be approved, this would be the biggest SEA Games ever.
So far, the biggest SEA Games was done with 43 sports when Thailand hosted the event in Nakhon Ratchasima in 2007.
Then, tiny Laos reduced it drastically to only 29 sports in 2009 before Indonesia hosted 42 sports in 2011 while Myanmar, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur held 34, 38 and 38 sports during their respective turns in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
The last time the country hosted the Games was in 2005 with 40 sports that resulted to 112 gold, 85 silver and 93 bronze medals to win the overall crown.
“I am happy to report that the SEA Games Federation accepted all the proposed sports submitted by POC, with the addition of indoor hockey, floor ball and vovinam,” said former POC president Celso Dayrit, who represented the country in the crucial meeting.
Approved are mandatory sports athletics and swimming as well as spectator sports like boxing, basketball, volleyball and football.
Also set to be played are archery, badminton, baseball, billiards, bowling, chess, cycling, dancesport, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, ice skating, judo, karatedo, pentathlon, muay, pencak silat, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, softball, soft tennis, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, traditional boat race, triathlon, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, petanque and surfing.
There would also be traditional and other sports like arnis, e-sports, jujitsu, kickboxing, kurash, lawn bowls, obstacle course, sambo, skateboarding and underwater hockey.