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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Myanmar keen to slap quotas on combat sports

Myanmar keen to slap quotas on combat sports

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Host Myanmar is looking to enforce quotas for participation in combat sports at the 2013 SEA Games to boost the medal hopes of less prolific nations. Photograph: Reuters

Myanmar, as host of the 2013 SEA Games, will  make a strong case for the re-introduction of a quota system in combat sports to prevent stronger teams dominating every category.

Restrictions on the number of categories a member nation can enter in any discipline had been put in place by Laos during the 2009 edition, but Indonesia removed that cap in 2011.

At a meeting of the SEA Games organising council in Bangkok last week, Myanmar argued in favour of bringing back quotas to ensure equity in medal prospects.

Cambodia is among four other nations supportive of this limited-entry policy, which is likely to pass muster.

“I feel it levels the chances of less strong teams winning medals in at least a few categories if the participation of powerhouses is restricted,” National Olympic Committee of Cambodia secretary-general Vath Chamroeun, who attended the Bangkok meeting, told the Post yesterday.

“We backed an Indonesian proposal to introduce karate kempo in 2013. This sport is yet to find its depth in Myanmar, but the Indonesians have offered help in establishing a base for this combat sport.

“As host, it is up to Myanmar to decide on this proposal.”

The setting-up of a new permanent office of the SEA Games Federation in Bangkok has been hailed as a path to progress.

Funded by the Sports Authority of Thailand, the centralised SEA Games office will help every host nation with logistics and preparations, easing the organisational burden on individual nations.

“A mechanism will be put in place by 2015 to find permanent sponsors for these biennial events, and I feel that in Cambodia’s case this will be a huge advantage when we organise these games,” Chamroeun said.

Cambodia, the only founding member not to have staged the Games, will have to make its call on holding the Games by the time Singapore hosts the 2015 edition. It is conventional for bidding nations to make their preferences known at least five years in advance.

Sea Festival postponed

The second Sea Festival, scheduled to be held in Kep on the last weekend of December, has been postponed by at least a month due to the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, whose body will lie in state at the Royal Palace for three months.

The festival includes an open-water swimming race and a triathlon.

According to the NOCC, the 2012 Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in Siem Reap, planned for December 2, will go ahead.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at hirimanju@yahoo.com

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