Monday, December 31, 2012

Year 2012 of Southeast Asian Nations in Sports

2012 Sports Events

London Olympics. 2012 was a big sports year for Southeast Asian (SEA) nations. It was the year of big events like the Olympiad in London. It was a successful event held this year of host Great Britain as well as the United States and powerhouse China who dominated the quadrennial games. For SEA nations, it was a gold medal drought season. It will take another four years for the SEA athletes to take part in the Olympiad in Brazil and hopefully that time snatch Olympic gold medals.

AFF Suzuki Cup. Another big sport event that shaken the entire SEA nations was the recent AFF Suzuki Cup. It was a two-leg format tournament were the top two winners of leg-1 qualifies for the group stage tournament. Myanmar topped the qualifying round and positioned themselves in Group A with the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This group was nearly called the "Group of Death". Laos filled the last spot in Group B along with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. And after a round robin matches among the teams in each group, Thailand and Philippines took the 1-2 positions in Group A while Singapore and 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup champion Malaysia advanced for the semi-finals in Group B. The semi-final round was a "home and away" format. Singapore battled Philippines. Their first match held in the Philippines was a nil-nil match while the second game gave the Lions a place in the finals with a 1-0 score against the Philippine Azkals. In other semi-finals between Thailand and Malaysia, the first leg was held in Malaysia and it was a (1-1) "draw" match. The second leg favored Thailand with home crowd fans and nailing Malaysia 2-0. The aggregate scores for Thailand-Malaysia matches were 3 to 1 in favor of Thailand. So it was between the Elephants and the Lions in the finals of the Suzuki Cup. The first leg of the championship favored Singapore in a commanding score of 3-1 at the Lion's den. Thailand on the other hand hopes to win the second leg in their own soil but came short despite scoring a lone goal against Singapore. The aggregate scores for the championship round was 3-2 and Singapore took their fourth victory in the AFF Suzuki Cup. Singapore also sets history for having the most number of championships in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

2012 ASEAN University Games
ASEAN University Games. The ASEAN University Games which was inaugurated in 1981 and was first hosted by Thailand-  is a biennial sporting events among student athletes of ASEAN and is governed and organised by the members of the ASEAN University Sports Council (AUSC). It is also a very good source of future Olympians and athletes for Asian and Southeast Asian Games. This year's ASEAN University Games was held in Vientiane, Laos from 12th-20th of December. All 11 Southeast Asian nations participated in 17 different sports. The week-long multi-sporting event was decorated with a wonderful opening and closing ceremonies. And in between the ceremonies, student athletes battled out for the gold medals. It was Malaysia who emerged the over-all champion disposing many-time overall champion Thailand. Thailand and Malaysia are the two countries with most number of overall championships in the ASEAN University Games. While Vietnam got its overall championship when it was held in Vietnam in 2006. Indonesia on the other hand failed to dominate any edition. Its nearest was second place in 2010 held in Thailand. Laos as host country of this year's 16th ASEAN University Games made sure that they will bring home more gold medals. And they did it. They also exceeded the projected number of gold medals.  The 2014 ASEAN University Games will be held in Indonesia. So expect Indonesia to finish in the top podium with sports most likely favoring the host.

(Note: 2010 ASEAN University Games Medal Tally article in Wikipedia is WRONG and NOT accurate.)

4th ASEAN Schools Games 2012 Surabaya - Surabaya, Indonesia

ASEAN School Games. This year's ASEAN School Games was held its 4th edition in Indonesia. Indonesia failed to get the overall championship at the 2012 ASEAN School Games. As host, it was expected that Indonesia will similarly do what was being done in 2011 SEA Games - to finish above all. But they fall on the hands of Thailand who garnered a total of 113 medals with 38 golds mostly came from athletics, swimming and gymnastics.While Indonesia known to be a competitive country in sports placed second after Thailand. Indonesia excelled in Pencak Silat and swimming. While team Malaysia placed third overall. ASEAN School Games is another breeding ground of good future athletes. The next ASEAN School Games is rumored to be held in Vietnam.

7th BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games
BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Areas) Friendship Games. The BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games is a multi-sporting events among areas of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It was first held in Philippines on 1996. This year's 7th edition was held again in the Philippines with 7 different sports. It is the third time the country hosted the games. In this 7th edition, Malaysia took the overall championship with team Sabah gathering 32 gold medals while Sarawak, another state of Malaysia placed second with 18 gold medals. Malaysian athletes dominated swimming and athletics. Mindanao of the Philippines placed third with 11 gold medals. Athletes in this games were athletes with no international sporting exposures like in the SEA Games or other higher level of competitive sports in Southeast Asia, Asia or world championships.

File:3rd asian beach games mascot.jpg

ASIAN BEACH GAMES. The 3rd edition of Asian Beach Games was held in Haiyang, China. 13 sports were being competed and only Myanmar from the SEA nations did not compete. Thailand and Indonesia sent more than hundred athletes in this event. Also, these two nations were among the top performers in the 3rd Asian Beach Games. Thailand placed second behind host China with 13 golds while Indonesia placed 4th with 6 gold medals in the overall medal rankings.

Expected 2013 Sporting Events

SEA GAMES. Leading the multi-sporting events is the 2013 Southeast Asian Games to be held in Myanmar. The 27th edition of SEA Games will take place in Nay Pyi Daw, the new capital of Myanmar in December 2013. The 11-nation will compete in 28 to 32 different sports in 3 venues - Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay regions and Ngwe Saung Beach. Myanmar is expected to finish strong in the medal tally. They can overtake Singapore and the Philippines in terms of gold medal harvest in this edition of SEA Games. Myanmar is serious to top the podium with boat racing and body building to boost Myanmar gold medals. Thailand is expected to top the medal tally among the participating countries.

File:2nd asian youth games mascot.jpg
2013 Youth Asian Games Mascot

ASIAN YOUTH GAMES. The 2013 edition of the Asian Youth Games will be held in Nanjing, China with 16 sports, 6 more than that of the previous edition held at Singapore. This is the second edition and expected to dominate the events are China, Japan and South Korea.

Welcom to AIMAG 2013

ASIAN INDOOR and MARTIAL ARTS GAMES. The 4th edition will be held in Incheon from June 29 to July 6, 2013, and feature 100 events in nine sports: billiard sports, bowling, chess-baduk (go)/electronic sports, dance sport, futsal, indoor kabaddi, kickboxing/Muay, kurash and short-course (25m) swimming. Organisers are expecting 1,700 athletes, 700 officials, 1,000 media and 1,000 guests for a total participation of 4,400 from the 45 NOCs. The 4th AIMAG will be used as a dress rehearsal for the 17th Asian Games, in Incheon from September 19 to October 4, 2014. 

SEA Nations to Watch Out in 2013

MALAYSIA. The Malaysian athletes are expected to regain its sporting supremacy along with Thailand and Vietnam. With its good showing in 2012  in different sport events in Southeast Asia and Asia, it will be a top contender in any sports. They are very good in aquatics like diving and swimming. Bowling, cycling and badminton are among the sports they really excel. It is expected that Malaysia is among the countries that will top the 2013 SEA Games along with Thailand and Vietnam. It may top among SEA nations in 2013 Youth Asian Games and 4th AIMAG.

SINGAPORE. This country is slowly making noise in Southeast Asian Games. Swimming, table tennis, badminton, fencing, bowling and athletics are sports they will excel. With good funding and sport management, Singapore will be a strong sporting country in the next 5 to 10 years. They already dominated swimming and table tennis in SEA Games. So expect Singapore to excel in 2015 SEA Games as it host the biennial meet.

TIMOR LESTE. Although Timor Leste is just starting to catch up with its neighboring countries in sports, they are now a threat for Brunei in SEA Games. If Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia battle for the top prize in SEA Games, Brunei and Timor Leste battle for the 10th position. Last 2011 SEA Games, it proved that Timor Leste athletes were not just to participate but to win medals. Also, Timor Leste is the team to watch out in football.

SEA Nations That Need Improvement

PHILIPPINES. The Philippines topped the countries that needs improvement in sports. This country of many talents and skills in sports easily sinks in the international sporting scenes. Of course, the Philippines excels in 3B's (Basketball-Boxing-Billiards) but sports are not just the 3B's especially in SEA Games. It involves various sports. Bowling which the Philippines dominated before was now a sporting forte of Malaysia and Singapore. They need to breed homegrown talents and not to rely on half-blooded Filipinos which they have now in their national football team. (In my opinion, what had happened in the recent AFF Suzuki Cup was the effect of weather condition on their players because those players used to play in low temperate condition in Europe and possibly affected their playing mode here in Southeast Asia.) Homegrown talents can be developed with proper training, exposure and full support of governing sport organization. Was it poor sport management that put the Philippines in low-ranked 7th in the 2011 SEA Games or the low sport funding? Or both? Anyways, they need to improve by any means this coming 2013 SEA Games and Asian Youth Games and the 4th Indoor Games in Incheon, South Korea.

CAMBODIA. The presence of Cambodia in SEA Games was not really being felt in the last 3 consecutive editions. Cambodia remains in the same position (9th rank) in the medal tally every edition. Their gold medal harvest is playing between 2-4 gold medals only. What seems to be their strength in SEA Games and in bigger multi-sporting events is in athletics, but not honed. Their athletes' body-built were not very different with their neighboring countries and if only they will focus in this sports, they can add more gold medals. Other sports to boost and must develop for Cambodia are traditional contact sports and sepak takraw.

BRUNEI. On the other hand, Brunei completed the rooster of countries that needs improvement in sports for 2012. Same with Cambodia, traditional or indigenous sports like Kempo and Pencak Silat must be fully be focused in order for Brunei to collect gold medals in SEA Games. Brunei has a very good developmental program in swimming but needs more good local swimmers. Also, billiard sports is a potential source of medal for Brunei.

In coming 2013, let us hope that SEA nations will perform well in every sports they will participate into. Let us also hope that no athletes and coaches will be injured in any sports and hope that organizers of every tournament plays fairly and manage properly the event they are holding. Lastly, let us support SEA athletes and sports being played by SEA nations. To all people who support sports, congratulations! To God be the Glory!

(This article did not mention world championships of particular sport or other sport events that focus only in one sport unless held in Southeast Asia. This also focuses sports in SEA nations.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Raihan vows to make a comeback at 2013 Sea Games

Source: The Malay Mail

EX-NATIONAL woman weightlifter Raihan Yusoff vows to represent the country again at the 2013 Sea Games in Myanmar when her suspension ends in November next year.

Raihan placed high hopes to represent the nation at the biennial event which would take place in December next year.

"I target participating in the SEA games for the third time in Myanmar after my suspension ends. But I leave it to the Malaysian Weight Lifting Federation (PABM) to decide my fate," she said when contacted by Bernama, today.

The bronze medallist in the 53kg event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India was suspended for two years and fined US$5,000 (RM15,000) by the International Weight Lifting Federation (IWF) after she failed an anti-doping test when taking part in the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Paris in November 2011.

Raihan, who is currently stationed at the Batu 5 Army Camp, Mentakab, Pahang said she did not undergo intensive training during the suspension due to her heavy workload as a soldier.

For the record, the 24-year-old Kelantan-born athlete garnered fourth place at the 2007 Sea Games in Korat, Thailand in the 58kg category before winning the silver medal in the 53kg event at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos. -Bernama

Monday, December 24, 2012

16th AUG wraps up with exceeded gold medals target

A colorfull performance displayed at closing ceremony of the 16th ASEAN University Games, at km 16 National Stadium on 20 December 2012.
(KPL) The 16th ASEAN University Games was officially wrapped up yesterday with Lao student athletes have exceeded the target of gold medals. Before the games, Laos has set to win at least 10 gold medals. As the result, Laos is ranked the fifth of medal count table with 32 gold, 35 silver and 46 bronze medals in the games.
While Malaysia stood in the 1st rank with 60 gold, 48 silver and 72 bronze medals. Vietnam ranks 2nd with 56 gold, 35 silver and 28 bronze. Thailand ranks 3rd with 45 gold, 52 silver and 56 bronze medals.

Majority of gold medals won by Lao student athletes was Muay with 7 gold medals out of 13 weight categories, followed by Wushu and Petanque with 6 gold medals on each, Taekwondo with 5 gold medals, Judo and Karate-do with 3 gold medals on each and Pencak Silat with 2 gold medals.

The latest gold medal was won by the Lao triple petanque mixed team (1 man + 2 women) triumphing over Malaysia 13-0 in the final, the NUOL petanque court, yesterday.

The sixth rank is Singapore with 3 gold, 6 silver and 23 bronze medals. The seventh is the Philippines with 2 gold, 12 silver, and 16 bronze medals.

The eighth is Myanmar with 1 gold and 2 bronze medals and next is Cambodia with 8 bronze medals, Brunei Darussalam with 5 bronze medals and Timor-Leste with 3 bronze medals.

Laos, the host under the theme of the 16th AUG”We are ASEAN family” had sent more than 500 athletes to compete in a total of 17 different sports, which held on 13 December to 19 December. 

More than 1,600 athletes in total from the 10 countries of Asean as well as Timor Leste have competed for a total of 877 medals, of which is 245 golds, 245 silvers and 387 bronze, Vice President of the Games Organising Committee, Prof. Dr Soukkongseng Saignaleuth said at the closing ceremony of games. 

He said “the competitions have reinforced peace, expressed the power of solidarity among young Asean students saw a high spirit given by all student athletes from Asean universities in the 16THAUG rewarded with cooperation in the sport events with cheerful atmosphere and satisfaction in victory of gold, silver or bronze medals. All of them are the successful, which has been recognized in nations as well as universities and a prestigious of each country.”

“The great achievements stemmed from the power of solidarity and mutually joined hearts of all athletes as a bee, a luck mascot named”Mr Santiphub (Peace) and Ms Mittaphub (Friendship)”, which is in line with a slogan of We are ASEAN Family.”

Mr Soukkongseng representing Lao PDR, the host and the 16th AUG Games Organising Committee has also expressed thanks to all Asean student athlete and sponsors concerned for assistances of the games.
Vice Prime Minister Asang Laoly, on behalf of 16th AUG Games Organising Committee Chair declared officially to close the 16th AUG Games.

The closing ceremony took place at KM 16 National Stadium yesterday, was full of spectators, approximately to 20,000 thanks to the 16th Asean University Games Organising Committee declaring a free entry that was different from the opening ceremony had only more than 3,000 spectators.

The spectators have enjoyed various entertainment parades of officials and athletes by nations and featuring singing and dancing performances from the next nation to host the games and fireworks shows.

The AUG were first organised in 1981 by the members states of the Asean University Sports Council as a biennial sports event designed to foster friendship, solidarity, unity and harmony between the people and students of Asean. 

Laos sent its first contingent of athletes to compete at the 9th AUG in Philippines in 1998. The next country to host the games is Indonesia in 2014.

Source: KPL Lao News Agency
By Khamla Phanouvong
December 21, 2012

SEA Games: breaking Myanmar's budget?

Source: Myanmar Times

Labourers work at the construction site of a football stadium in Nay Pyi Taw. (AFP)

Officials in Nay Pyi Taw are understandably eager to show off the new stadiums that are to serve as the centrepieces of the Southeast Asian Games next year – just don’t ask about the price tag.

Three enormous venues are nearing completion in Nay Pyi Taw, rising out of the flat plains of the sprawling, low-density capital. In January 2010, U Zaw Zaw’s Max Myanmar began building the sporting complex in Zabuthiri township, including a multi-use indoor stadium, aquatics centre and 30,000-seat football stadium.

Across the road is the games village that will host thousands of athletes and officials from the nine other ASEAN nations and Timor-Leste taking part in the 27th SEA Games, which will open on December 11, 2013.

A 30-minute drive from the venues and village, coaches at a training facility opened in 2011 are preparing 800 of the country’s best athletes. A countdown calendar posted on the wall serves as a constant reminder of the dwindling days until competition begins.

Away from Nay Pyi Taw, a sailing facility is being constructed at Ngwe Saung Beach for yachting events, while facilities in Yangon are also being overhauled. In Mandalay’s Chanmyartharsi township, Max Myanmar is building yet another stadium, which will be used for the women’s football games.

But the facilities in Yangon, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung are all serving as secondary sites to Nay Pyi Taw.

It is clear that officials are keen to use the international event to showcase Myanmar’s often criticised capital, known for its inaccessibility and grandiose monuments to the military.

The bookends of the SEA Games, the opening and closing ceremonies, will take place in Nay Pyi Taw. Organisers have traditionally used the ceremonies to emphasise national unity.

The Nay Pyi Taw football stadium is the venue nearest to completion; Deputy Minister for Sport U Thaung Htike said the stadium is 90 to 95 percent finished.

While the bill for the stadium is not known, it boasts numerous touches of extravagance. The VIP entrance features a mirrored wall overlaid with ornate woodcarvings. Team lounges have hardwood floors. The suite for visiting dignitaries is lined with rows of plush seats that provide a panoramic view of the pitch.

The floor of the reception room for special guests is covered in a layer of lush carpet, which remains covered in plastic to protect it from the fine dust created by the sanding, sawing and scraping of the 700 employees rushing to have the stadium ready by the December 31 deadline.

A 30 foot by 60 foot television screen hangs at one end of the field. U Thaung Htike said he hoped that it would be showing highlights of the Myanmar national football team winning its way through to the gold medal match. While that seems improbable given the teams recent travails, the deputy minister said he is confident at least that the stadium will be near to capacity.

“When Myanmar goes to the football final 100,000 people from Yangon, from Mandalay, from Nay Pyi Taw will be coming,” he said with a laugh.

While track that encircles the field still needs to be surfaced and a few other finishing touches are yet to be added, project engineer U Aye Lwin Aung said he is confident that all will be completed by December 31. The two other venues in the complex are to be finished shortly thereafter, he said.

But while everyone is happy to show how preparations are moving forward, no one is willing to say just how much this complex or the SEA Games as a whole will cost Myanmar.

U Aye Lwin Aung said that he was unaware of the cost or budget of the football stadium, the construction project that he is overseeing. “We are just the workers,” he said. “We don’t know the cost.”

U Thaung Htike was also evasive when pressed on the budget for the games.

“It is not our responsibility,” he said. “You better go to [Ministry of] Finance and Revenue and ask them.”
He said that it was hard to put a firm figure on the budget because responsibilities are shared between 13 sub-committees.

When The Myanmar Times contacted the Ministry of Finance and Revenue last week, both a budget director and an assistant director declined to comment. They directed inquiries back to the Ministry of Sports.

Calls to Max Myanmar’s Yangon headquarters were redirected to Nay Pyi Taw. Representatives from the company there also declined comment.

The lack of financial transparency over the games is a potential cause for concern, particularly given the country’s budget deficit and the pressure on the government to increase social spending.

Recent SEA Games have been plagued by overspending and busted budgets that have strained the finances of regional and national governments. When Indonesia staged the games in 2011, the budget ballooned out to a reported 3 trillion rupiah (US$319 million).

Singapore, which will host the SEA Games in 2015, after Myanmar, has already pledged to keep a tight rein on games-related spending.

“We are keeping a very tight watch over the entire budget,” Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Chan Chun Sing said in July.

Singapore has recent experience with international sporting events to draw on: when it hosted the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, the $85 million budget ballooned to $317 million.

But Pyithu Hluttaw representatives were less reticent with information on the SEA Games budget. U Aye Mauk of Mahlaing constituency said the parliament had so far approved about K340 billion (US$400 million) in spending and would consider allocating more money if requested.

“In my opinion, we have already allocated enough money to the SEA Games … but if further funding is needed, the hluttaw will also sanction it. The necessary funds were given to provide athletes with facilities to raise their spirits,” U Aye Mauk said, adding that it was important the government “makes optimum use of the money”.

The hluttaw has already slashed funding for some proposed venues in Pyin Oo Lwin and Yamethin and U Thein Nyunt of Thingangyun said that while the games are “very important” the country could not afford to burden itself with debt for the sake of a sporting competition.

“Because the country is poor … we should [host the games] in the right fashion. We should not forget that the income of 26 out of every 100 citizens is below US$1 a day,” he said.

“Sixty million people will suffer the adverse effects of this debt. Therefore, long-term management is needed to ensure we get the most from the money spent,” he said.

“For example, after the event we should consider using buildings that will be used to accommodate athletes to look after people who are facing housing difficulties.”

Myanmar, Korea to provide orthopaedic care for SEA Games

Source: Myanmar Times

Athletes participating in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar will receive orthopaedic care from the Ministry of Health and the Myanmar Medical Association in collaboration with a South Korean orthopaedics foundation, an official said last week.

Local orthopaedic specialists in conjunction with South Korean group Good Shepherd Hospital Foundation will provide care to local and foreign athletes who sustain bone and muscle injuries during the SEA games, Myanmar Orthopaedics Society president Dr Mying Thaung told The Myanmar Times on Tuesday, December 18.

Members of the Orthopaedics Society, which is under the MMA, and specialists from Good Shepherds will be on standby at venues in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung Beach during the games to provide care.

“We will allocate mobile teams to different venues at the competitions,” Dr Myint Thaung said.

“We will refer athletes who sustain severe injuries to Yangon General Hospital and North Okkalapa General Hospital, where our members will be able to provide operations,” he said.

Seoul-based Good Shepherd will provide equipment to the hospitals for the orthopaedic operations. Good Shepherd Hospital specialises in sports medicine, surgery and rehabilitation.

Because sports medicine is a relatively new field in Myanmar, Good Shepherd will provide monthly training to local specialists before the games begin on December 10, 2013.

“The medical universities in Myanmar do not teach sports medicine. It is not popular in Myanmar. But it is very important to teach this subject, especially when the sports sector is booming,” Dr Mying Thaung said.

“We are not only focusing on the SEA Games. We are aiming to improve sports medicine and sports surgery in Myanmar, using the games as a starting point.”

Myanmar will host the SEA Games for the third time next year and the games will include up to 28 different sports, according to the Ministry of Sports.

Athletes who participate in contact sports and sports that require physical strength are more prone to injury. Sports such as football, hockey and weightlifting can lead to knee injuries, sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations, Dr Mying Thaung said.

Myanmar has about 280 orthopaedic specialists but more modern equipment and training is needed to develop orthopaedic care, the society says.

Burma out to upend PH in Sea Games

Source: Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Burma (Myanmar) has no illusions of winning the overall championship of the Southeast Asian Games but the host country of next year’s biennial meet is setting its sight on overtaking the Philippines in the medal tally. 

To achieve this, Burma is removing sports in the Games’ roster where Filipino athletes are strong and replacing them with events where the hosts are favored to win, according to Philippine Sports Commission Chair Richie Garcia. 

Garcia Thursday said Myanmar has so far scratched bowling, chess and dance sports which are considered strong medal prospects for PH during  the 11-nation Games slated in December 2013 in the city of Naypidaw. 

“They removed several sports and replaced them with disciplines that we don’t even play,” said Garcia. “They’re doing it to displace us. It’s being manipulated.” 

The Philippines placed sixth in the 2011 SEA Games held in Indonesia with a gold-silver-bronze output of 36-56-77. Myanmar wound up with a final output of 16-27-37 and finished seventh. 

Garcia accused the hosts of lining up sports indigenous to the region but alien to Filipino athletes in the roster of events. 

He said Myanmar has also increased to 18 the number of gold medals at stake in dragon boat, one of the few sports the host has dominated in past Games. 

There were only 10 dragon boat events, also known as traditional boat race, in Indonesia with Myanmar winning all but one event—the 500-meter, 20-man crew, where Filipino paddlers edged the Burmese by a split second in the finals. 

The PSC chief expects a gold-medal haul of 70 to 75 for the Philippines in its bid to achieve its objective of finishing at least fourth overall.