By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
Four more sports were added to the Southeast Asian Games to be held in Vietnam next year, Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino revealed on Thursday.
Happening from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2, 2021 in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the 31st SEA Games will now have jiu-jitsu, esports, triathlon and bowling as part of the program of the regional biennial sporting event.
The addition of the four sports, reportedly approved by the SEA Games Federation Executive Committee in an online meeting recently but would not be announced until next month, takes to 40 the scheduled events in the Vietnam Games to date.
“This is good news for us because we dominated three of these four sports when we hosted the Games in December 2019,” Mr. Tolentino said.
He was referring to jiu-jitsu, esports and triathlon which contributed 11 gold medals in the country’s total medal haul en route to the Philippines claiming the overall championship after 14 years.
The POC president said they will continue to lobby for additional sports to be added to at least give the Philippines a better chance to defend its overall championship.
In last year’s edition of the SEA Games held here, participants competed in 56 sports.
Currently in the official list of sports for the Vietnam Games are aquatics (diving and swimming), archery, athletics, badminton, basketball (5×5 and 3×3), billiards, bodybuilding, boxing, canoeing, chess, cycling (road and mtb), dancesports, fencing and football (football, beach soccer and futsal).
Also in the program are golf, gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic and aerobic), handball, judo, karate, kickboxing, kurash, muay thai, pencak silat, petanque, rowing, sepaktakraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball (beach and indoor), vivinam, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.
SUPPORT FOR ADDITIONAL BUDGET
Meanwhile, Mr. Tolentino also threw his support to the request of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for an additional P510-million funding for elite sports for 2021 during deliberations on the budget of the sports body for next year
Mr. Tolentino, also a member of Congress as representative of the eighth district of the province of Cavite, underscored in his interpellation the need to support athletes set to compete in big international competitions next year, including the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“… The athletes need all the support in their bid to accomplish what has never been achieved before [in the Olympics],” said Mr. Tolentino, referring to the country’s bid to win its elusive first Olympic gold medal.
The PSC proposed a traditional Department of Budget Management-endorsed P207 million 2021 budget that is intended for the agency’s operations and salaries and wages of personnel.
It, however, moved to propose for an additional P510 million funding designed to help Filipino athletes train and prepare for the Tokyo Olympics and for the qualifiers.
Of the proposed additional budget, the PSC said P150 million will be for the Tokyo Olympics campaign, while P100 million will be for the preparation and participation in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
The remaining funds will be allocated for the Asian Beach Games, Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games, Asian Youth Games, Asian Youth Para Games, SEA Para Games, Tokyo Paralympics and ASEAN Youth Games.