THE Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has dropped triathlon along with four other sports for the 2017 Southeast Games in Kuala Lumpur, dealing a blow to the Philippines' gold-medal chances in the biennial showpiece.
The Philippines ruled triathlon during the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore with Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna sweeping the gold medals in the men and women events, respectively. Kim Mangrobang also took home silver in the women's race.
The move has prompted an online petition to reinstate triathlon in the next biennial event. In the ipetitions.com website. Most of the signatorees for #TRIATHLON4SEAGames2017 are from the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
“A sport that has been gaining ground in so many countries in recent years should not only be in the 2017 SEA Games; it should be part of every succeeding SEA Game,” said Tina Araneta of Makati City in the petition that has garnered 500 votes since being posted last February 17.
Another signatory, Belinda Siam of Malaysia, wrote: “Sometimes it is not only about the medal (not that we are lack of talents for the podium). Triathlon as a complete sport has gained popularity in Malaysia. Why do you think Ironman and Challenge Family brought their races to Malaysia?”
National sports associations have until the end of the month to appeal while participating countries can do so until June. The Sea Games Federation will finalize the final number of sports in their council meeting on June 14.
The four other sports that were dropped were judo, canoeing, bodybuilding and fencing.
Shortlisted for the 29th edition of the SEAG are 34 sports: athletics, aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, cricket, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, ice hockey, ice skating, karate, lawn bowls, netball, silat, petanque, rugby sevens, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, cue sports, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, bowling, volleyball, water ski, weightlifting and wushu.