The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is set to include netball and handball in the list of proposed sports when the country hosts the 30th Southeast Asian Games next year.
In a meeting with POC president Ricky Vargas Monday, Netball Philippines president Charlie Ho and Philippine Handball Federation chief Steve Hontiveros explained their side, saying that they have a fighting chance to win a medal in the prestigious multi-sport conclave that will fire off on 30 November in Clark Green City.
Ho said they have a handsome chance to win in the beach netball competition since most of their regional rivals — except for powerhouse Singapore — are just starting to play the sport.
After all, they have a solid program and they already won the title in the Jeonju International Netball Championships in South Korea last June as well as in the bowl category of the M1 Asian Netball Championships in Singapore last September, a massive achievement for a federation that was assembled few months before the Singapore Southeast Asian Games in 2015.
“Based on my understanding, Mr. Vargas will include beach netball in the list of proposed events for the SEA Games,” said Ho, a lawyer who also chairs the arbitrations and dispute committee of the Olympic council.
“Our federation may just be in the development stage, but we’re already making our presence felt in tournament abroad. We want to carry that momentum and convert it into a good performance in the SEA Games.”
On the same note, beach handball was also a last-minute inclusion after being scratched in the initial list of 56 sports that would be proposed by the POC to the SEA Games Federation Council in their meeting in November.
Hontiveros said their team has a handsome chance of winning after they emerged with a bronze medal in the Southeast Asian Beach Handball Championships in Dumaguete City last year.
“Mr. Vargas promised that he will include our men’s beach handball team,” said Hontiveros, a long-time sport executive who served as secretary-general of former POC presidents Celso Dayrit and Jose Cojuangco.
With handball and netball being included, the list of sports that would be proposed hiked to 58, turning the country’s hosting of the biennial meet into the biggest-ever staging since Thailand hosted 43 sports in the 2007 edition in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Interestingly, included in the list are some sports with no local federations like vovinam, kickboxing, e-sports, underwater hockey and modern pentathlon.
Ho and Hontiveros raised a howl over the inclusion of these sports and immediately sought a meeting with Vargas.
“We’re not yet 100 percent sure of making it,” said Hontiveros, adding that the final verdict will be in November.
“But we’re glad to be included on the list. At least we have a fighting chance.”