PH to defend SEA Games title as Vietnam hosts 36 sports

Reigning Southeast Asian (SEA) Games overall champion Philippines is set to defend its title in the 36 sports proposed by Vietnam, which will host the 31st edition of the regional biennial meet in 2021. 

Vietnam laid out the initial 36 sports on Monday, July 13, which is 20 sports less than the country's recent hosting of the SEA Games. 

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino had revealed that Vietnam's SEA Games budget was slashed due to the reallocation of funds to the coronavirus pandemic efforts. 

"Naglabas sila ng news na naislash ng 30% to 50% ang budget for SEA Games kaya mababawasan ‘yung events and sports. Ang first mission [natin] is to lobby for the events – dancesport, arnis, kickboxing and obstacle course race," said Tolentino. 

(There was news that the budget for the SEA Games was slashed by 30% to 50%, which will cause a decrease in events and sports. Our first mission is to lobby for events such as dancesport, arnis, kickboxing and obstacle course race.) 

However, only dancesport – where the country won 10 gold medals –  and kickboxing made it to the initial list, which prompted POC to lobby for the inclusion of the other sports, including triathlon.

The Philippines' national sport arnis contributed 14 golds, which is the most number of gold medals hauled by a single sport.

In triathlon, the country took the top spots of the men's and women's individual races in the last 3 editions.

Vietnam, though, retained athletics and aquatics (swimming and diving) as Category 1 or compulsory sports.

Category 2 or Olympic and Asian Games Sports is composed of archery, badminton, basketball (3×3 and 5×5), billiard snooker, boxing, canoeing/kayak, chess (xiangqi), cycling (road and mountain bike), dancesport, fencing, football, futsal, golf, gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic, aerobic), handball (indoor and beach), judo, karate, muay, pencak silat, petanque, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting (pistol, rifle, shotgun), table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball (indoor and beach), weightlifting, wrestling (Greco Roman and freestyle), and wushu.

Category 3, which comprises the regional and new sports, is set to include finswimming, bodybuilding, kurash, kickboxing, and vovinam.

In the 2019 SEA Games, Philippines finished as the overall champion with an all-time high of 149 gold medals. – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.

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