Vath Chamroeun (left) stands with SEA Games Federation Honorary Life President HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah at the meeting in Bali. Photo Supplied
THE 11-member Southeast Asian Games Federation has approved 44 disciplines as medal events while declaring cricket as a demonstration sport for the 26th SEA Games to be staged in Indonesia from November 11 to 25.
Bali provided a perfect backdrop for the Federation’s crucial Council meeting last Friday where the final list of events was released along with official invitations to all the 11 member countries. The Indonesian SEA Games Organising Committee rejected proposals from various members to include hockey, table tennis and rugby but agreed to allow extensions in petanque and aerobic gymnastics. There were also some notable additions in sailing and shooting.
Olympic Commitee of Cambodia Secretary General Vath Chamroeun, who attended both the Executive and Council meetings, said it was a partial victory for a joint proposal moved by Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam to extend the aerobic gymnastics competition. “All these years we had only individual categories. We wanted Indonesia to include trios and mixed pair [events],” he said.
“Ultimately the organising committee said ‘Yes’ to trio but refused to add mixed pair.”
Petanque is a discipline where the Kingdom stands a good chance of picking up medals and the NOCC’s initiative to push for doubles and shooting to be included alongside individual events met with total success.
“Petanque is more popular in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand,” said Vath Chamroeun.
“We have been seeking this change for a long time and the organisers were quite favourable to our suggestions.”
On the boxing front, the Organising Commitee accepted a proposal from Thailand to categorise boxers for all events in accordance with the current International Boxing Association rules.
“The SEA Games had its own categorisation standards which did not conform with the IBA, and some members were quite unhappy with that,” added the NOCC official.
On the sidelines of the Council meeting, several member countries brought up the issue of Cambodia hosting the SEA Games in the near future. Cambodia is the only founder member not to have staged the biennial games.
The hosts for the next three editions have already been marked, with Myanmar set to stage the 2013 games, Singapore in 2015 and Malaysia in 2017.
“Several members indicated that we should bid for the 2019 games, arguing that eight years would be an ideal time frame for preparations,” Vath Chamroeun said.
“Now that the official invitation is in our hands, we will start our preparations for the Indonesian SEA Games soon. We have a contingent of around 100 participants in mind and we will train our sportsmen and women for as many as 20 events.”
Referring to the Cambodian Baseball Federation’s firm intent to take part in this year’s tournament, the NOCC Secretary said: “We have to see how well they are – whether they meet all our requirements – and assess the quality of the team. Only then can we decide whether the team is going or not.”