SEA Games Federation on verge of a break up
By: Julius Manicad(The Daily Tribune)
RP PUSHES FOR REFORMS
The Philippines would leave the Southeast Asian Games unless the SEA Games Federation Council would revice the Games’ charter for the 2015 Games in Singapore.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia yesterday said leaving the SEA Games is now an option as the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) protested the supposed manipulation of the selection of events by host Myanmar for Naypyidaw Games on Dec. 11 to 22.
The PSC chief said the Philippines may broker a meeting among members of the 11-nation organization to work on the revision of the SEA Games charter. The meeting is tentatively set in November, coinciding with the celebration of the Asian Games Centennial Festival in Boracay.
Among the revisions the Philippines would demand is the staging of a fixed SEA Games roster of events, including sports that are part of the regular Olympic calendar.
Traditional sports will still be played provided that the events will be less than 10 percent of the total number of medals while indigenous sports will be treated as mere demonstration sports with medals not reflected in the final tally.
Myanmar, which will organize the SEA Games for the first time since 1969, is ensuring its dominance in the biennial meet by scrapping legitimate Olympic sports like lawn tennis, gymnastics and beach volleyball and replacing them with indigenous games like vovinam, chinlone and kempo.
More than 40 gold medals are at stake in these indigenous sports, prompting POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco to call for a review of the SEA Games charter. Sending to a token delegation, or a team of no less than a hundred athletes to Myanmar, is also strongly being considered by the PSC and POC.
And if that happens again in the next SEA Games in Singapore, the
“If it’s going to be like that again in Singapore, then God bless the SEA Games,” Garcia said during a press briefing. “I fully agree with Mr. Cojuangco: Why would we join the SEA Games if no changes will happen in 2015?”
In a previous statement, Cojuangco hinted the possibility of leaving the SEA Games and, instead, focus on other major international tournaments like the Asian Games, the Asian Indoor Games, the Asian Martial Arts Games, Asian Youth Olympics, Asian Beach Games and, of course, the Olympics.
Another blackeye for the SEA Games federation is an allegation of game-fixing where an unidentified Filipino athlete was asked by a foreign official to throw a match in exchange for the cash equivalent of a gold medal in the Philippines.
“Our athlete was told that they are willing to give out the amount in exchange for the gold medal,” Cojuangco said. “Things are now getting worse. That’s why I’m looking at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore. If this continues then maybe it’s useless for us to join because I don’t see anything to gain for our athletes.”
Singapore, a tiny island state which last hosted the Games in 1993, is expected to jack up the biennial meet with events familiar to them like sailing, water polo and other water sports to finally capture its first overall crown since joining the biennial meet in 1959.
But Garcia said it all depends whether they will agree to the revision of the SEA Games charter or not.
“I think Singapore is on the table. It wants to win the SEA Games fair and square,” he said. “They want to show everybody that it is the right way to do it, that winning fair and square is more important than any kind of medal.”