DESPITE the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam will push through, according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino.
Tolentino said Vietnam SEA Games organizers have not indicated about the possibility of postponing the biennial meet more so since COVID-19 cases in the country have been low.
Tolentino, however, is bracing that next year’s SEA Games will have even have less events than usual due to budget cuts.
“Definitely, matutuloy ‘yun,” said Tolentino during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum via video conference. “Kung makita niyo ‘yung record ng Vietnam sa COVID, zero diba? Ang galing ng Vietnam. Pero naglabas na sila ng news na maiislash ‘yung budget nila. Ang effect nun ay mababawasan ang events.”
Tolentino was already expecting less events compared to the 2019 SEA Games that saw the Philippines host 56 sports from different parts of Luzon before COVID-19, and was already planning to lobby more events particularly those that helped the country win 149 gold medals.
With the pandemic, Tolentino has become pessimistic that those events like dance sports, arnis, kickboxing, and obstacle course racing will even be considered to be included.
“Ang first mission ko doon is to lobby for the events natin na hindi lalaruin sa Vietnam. Paano natin ilolobby ‘yun, baka mabawasan pa ‘yung mga events,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino even said that the POC has not even formally turned over the hosting of the SEA Games to its Vietnam counterparts in a Southeast Asian Games Federation meeting.
“’Yun ngang sa SEA Games, hindi pa natin alam kung ano ‘yung mga lalaruin. Hindi pa kami nagmi-meeting dahil hindi pa kami nagtuturnover sa Vietnam kasi inabot na tayo ng COVID,” said the concurrent Cavite seventh district Representative and cycling president.
“Na-cancel lahat (ng meetings). Dapat nung April tapos nilayo ng May. Nawala na naman. Wala pa ring balita sa kanila,” he added.