THE Philippine muaythai team will not participate in the coming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar as the event will be run by an association not recognized by the international body.
Muaythai Association of the Philippines (MAP) president Atty. Lucas Managuelod explained the team decided not to compete in the Dec. 11-22 biennial meet as the competition is going to be organized by the Southeast Asian Muay Federation (SEAMF).
SEAMF, however, is not recognized by the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) and the Olympic Council of Asia, prompting the local body to decide not to join the SEA Games.
Managuelod said joining an event not recognized by IFMA may lead to a possible suspension from the international body.
“Kung sasali kami, i-su-suspend kami ng IFMA. Our decision was supported by the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee),” Managuelod said.
Managuelod stressed politics may be behind SEAMF sanctioning the muay event of the SEA Games as its high-ranking official is reportedly related to a government official in Laos.
Filipino sport officials have openly criticized the Myanmar organizing committee for the inclusion of non-traditional events in the SEA Games calendar to dislodge the Philippines in the medal standings.
The move, Filipino officials added, also benefits Laos.
The country finished sixth during the 2011 edition of the SEA Games with 36 gold medals won followed by Myanmar at seventh with 16 golds, and Laos with nine golds.
By skipping the SEA Games, Managuelod said the association is now focusing on seeing action in next year’s world championship in Langkawi, Malaysia in May and the Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand.