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    Golden opportunity lost for PH as medal-rich events scrapped

    Jul 18, 2012
    POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco is looking at the bright side, saying more Olympic sports in the SEAG calendar is better. Jerome Ascano

    THIS early, the Philippines has lost eight gold medals which it won't be able to defend in next year’s Southeast Asian Games after several sports were scrapped from the 2013 calendar in Myanmar.

    The Philippine Olympic Committee, however, got its wish as majority of the maximum 32 sports to be contested in the 2013 Games will come from Olympic sports.

    The sports that were initially approved were aquatics, athletics, archery, badminton, basketball, billiards and snooker, boxing, canoe, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, karate, rowing, sepak takraw, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.

    Also included were non-Olympic sports like bodybuilding, chess, muay, pencak silat, traditional boat race and another sport to be determined.

    However, bridge, softball, baseball, bowling and fin swimming, sports which became a source of some of the 36 gold medals the country won in the last SEA Games in Indonesia, were not included in the initial list drawn up by the the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee.

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    The bridge team collected two gold medals in 2011 while the men’s baseball team and the PH Blu Boys and Girls dominated in Indonesia after the two sports were not played in Laos.

    Bowling, fin swimming and wall climbing, which accounted for a gold each in Indonesia.

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    POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, however, said that they are happy that more Olympic sports will be played after the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council meeting last week in Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital of Myanmar and the site of next year’s SEA Games.

    “It’s about time that they do this because the intention of the SEA Games is really to be a stepping stone for the Asian Games,” said Cojuangco after Wednesday’s POC general assembly at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.

    “Unfortunately, it has become too friendly and too accommodating to a point that focus on improving the Asian Games and Olympics have not been met,” Cojuangco added.

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    With the sports picked, the number of events will be discussed next and will be finalized within the year.

    “The next step is that there should be less non-Olympic events than Olympic events,” said POC secretary-general Steve Hontiveros, who attended the SEA Games Federation Council meeting.

    Field hockey is still fighting for inclusion in the SEA Games as well as chinlone, a native variation of sepak takraw.

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    POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco is looking at the bright side, saying more Olympic sports in the SEAG calendar is better. Jerome Ascano
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