PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino will be lobbying for more sports to be included in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games to improve the country's chances of retaining the overall title.
Tolentino said he will be flying to Vietnam soon to ask organizers to add more sports to the 36 it plans to stage in Hanoi two years from now - 20 less than the 56 sports that were held in this year's Games.
The Philippines won 149 of the 530 gold medals put at stake to win the overall crown.
“Pupunta kami sa Vietnam para manligaw para maisama ‘yung mga hindi kasali,” said Tolentino, who mentioned arnis, kickboxing, dancesport, and obstacle course racing among the sports he plans to lobby for inclusion in the the Vietnam meet.
The Philippines got 33 gold medals from the four sports that Tolentino mentioned, including 14 in arnis and 10 in dancesports, most of which were won on the first day of the competitions that led to the overall crown.
Tolentino is confident that the additional sports he plans to lobby will be approved by the Vietnam organizing committee.
“Basta sila mananalo, papayag ‘yun,” said Tolentino.
Even though he will lobby for additional sports for the 2021 SEA Games, Tolentino said a repeat of the 2019 overall crown will be difficult.
“Mabigat ‘yun siyempre. Hindi naman papayag ang Vietnam na hindi sila mag-overall. Pero pipilitin natin salihan lahat ng sports,” said Tolentino.