THE Philippines faces a tough outing in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this December with only half of the events where it won gold medals in Indonesia two years ago had been included so far in the calendar of events.
Of the 444 total events calendared to be played in Myanmar so far, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) noted that the country won in only 20 of them in the 2011 edition of the biennial meet.
The Filipinos bagged 36 gold medals during the Indonesia SEA Games and finished sixth overall.
Among the sports included in this year’s SEA Games calendar are athletics, aquatics, archery, billiards and snooker, boxing, basketball, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, judo, karatdo, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, sailing, taekwondo, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, body building, traditional boat race, chess, pencak silat, petanque, and muay.
Noticeably present in the list are a number of non-traditional events like traditional chinlone, vovinam, tarung derajat, and kempo, which account for a total of 58 gold medals.
The Philippines is not expected to field any entries in these non-traditional events.
But the POC said it is going to lobby for the inclusion of more traditional events to the sports calendar when the second SEA Games Federation Council meeting is held this weekend.
Taekwondo and boxing comprise the bulk of the events where the Filipinos won in 2011 with four gold medals each, although other events which the country stands a strong chance of winning gold medals are visibly absent.
Among those not included are two events in billiards and snooker - the men’s and women’s 8-ball singles - won by Dennis Orcollo and Iris Ranola in 2011, as well as two in cycling which Alfie Catalan and John Mier topped, respectively (men’s individual pursuit and points race).
Unless changes are made, two gold-medal winning events in wushu - the men’s 65kg and 70kg – topped by Mark Eddiva and Edward Folayang will also not be played in Myanmar, along with the team sports of baseball, and men’s and women’s softball.
Surprisingly, tennis is still not part of the calendar of events - another blow to the country's bid since Treat Huey and Denise Dy captured the mixed doubles gold in Indonesia.
Bridge is also not scheduled to be played, denying the men’s butler (Gerry Alquiros and George Soo) and mixed team (Alquiros and Gemma Mariano) of the chance to defend their titles.
The men’s singles in bowling (Frederick Ong), men’s individual saber in fencing (Walbert Mendoza), women’s boulder in wall climbing (Ina Flores) and women’s fin swimming (Danielle Faith Torres) have also been scrapped.
However, the all-female poomsae team, men’s flyweight, women’s lightweight, and women’s heavyweight in taekwondo will return this year, four events won by Rani Ann Ortega, Camille Alarilla, and Janice Lagman; and John Paul Lizardo, Camille Manalo, and Kirstie Alora, respectively.
Events won by Josie Gabuco in the women’s 46kg, Alice Kate Aparri in the women’s 48kg, Charly Suarez in the men’s 60kg, and Dennis Galvan in the men’s 64kg, will also be played.
All is not lost in billiards as the women’s 9-ball singles won by Ranola has likewise been included.
In athletics, the women’s long jump of Marestella Torres and the 3,000-meter steeplechase of Rene Herrera are still part of the SEA Games calendar, same with the 55kg and 84kg Greco-Roman event in wrestling won by Margarito Angana and Jason Balabal.
Events in chess (Wesley So, individual blitz), archery (team compound), traditional boat race (men’s 500m), equestrian (Diego Lorenzo, individual showjumping), rowing (Nestor Cordova, m1x), judo (Nancy Quillotes, women’s -48kg), and basketball (men’s team) are also in the program.