Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Athletics: Discus thrower James Wong returns for SEA Games

Source: Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: National discus thrower James Wong is making a comeback at the coming SEA Games in Myanmar.

He had earlier said he was retiring after the Games in 2011.

Mr Wong said: "Because every time I finish an assignment, especially in the Games, you know it takes a lot of effort bringing myself up to another level to compete. And sometimes I say, 'it's enough', I want to stop because it's so painful for many months and days towards the Games.

"But somehow, there's always the urge to compete again because people on the street, coaches, athletes, I see them train, I also want to train together with them and inspire them and so on."

It's about 10 months to the SEA Games and Mr Wong said he is training hard to get back into competitive form.

He said he will be better able to assess his chances by June or July.

Mr Wong added that he is optimistic about the future of athletics in Singapore, and that the scene in Singapore remains vibrant.

He hopes more students can continue their game for as long as possible and even after graduating.

Eko, Triyatno to Miss Myanmar SEA Games

Source: Jakarta Globe

Triyatno, who is suffering from a torn meniscus, will give Indonesia hope for a weightlifting medal at the Rio Games. (Reuters Photo/Grigory Duko)
Triyatno, who is suffering from a torn meniscus, will give Indonesia hope for a weightlifting medal at the Rio Games. (Reuters Photo/Grigory Duko)

After tearing his meniscus during the 2012 London Olympics, Indonesian weightlifter Triyatno will need to undergo surgery to repair his knee.

Triyatno (men’s 62 kg), who took home a silver medal during the summer games, was largely responsible for saving Indonesia from Olympic humiliation after the country’s badminton squad failed to bring home a single medal for the first time since 1992.

His teammate Eko (men’s 69 kg), who won a bronze in London, has also been struggling with a shin injury.

Lukman, who coached the weightlifting team, commented that the two lifters would not be able to participate in the 2013 Southeast Asia Games, which are being hosted in Mynamar, as they must recover before hitting the weights again.

“We will not put any more pressure on them to carry the mission to win medals at the SEA Games. We’ll just have to wait until September or three months before the Games take place to see how far their improvement will have come along. Both have chances to perform at the Games, but I do not want to jeopardize their future as they are our medal hopefuls for the next Olympics,” Lukman said.

Though Triyatno and Eko will likely skip the biennial competition, Lukman said that they will focus on next year’s Asian Games and the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifier, also starting next year.

Both lifters, he added, are also still maintaining themselves with light training so as to not harm themselves any further.

The Indonesian Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding Association (Pabbsi) has been preparing Muhammad Hasbi (men’s 62 Kg) and Deni (men’s 69 kg) as back-up competitors to replace Eko and Triyatno.

“We’ll keep our eyes on the young lifters,” Lukman said.

Triyatno reacted to the coach’s decision to rest him and Eko in order to focus on their recovery with mixed emotions.

“I need to recover from my injury before participating in the national selection test for the SEA Games team. The worst thing is that I can’t join this year’s squad. I feel sad about it, but I have to accept it, ready or not. I’m sure the coach and the association know what is best for us,” said the 25-year-old lifter.

U23 men’s football squad target gold at SEA Games 27

Source: CPV/VietNamNet

Pocketing the gold medal is the target that the General Department of Sports and Physical Training has set for the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and the U23 men’s football squad at the upcoming SEA Games 27.

U23 men’s football squad, SEA Games 27, Chinese coach Chen Yun Fat

In a recent meeting between related parties, vice head of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training cum VFF vice chairman, Mr Pham Van Tuan, looking at the current development of Vietnam football in comparison with other national squads in the region, and said that he himself and millions of enthusiastic fans are hoping to see the moment when the U23 men’s football squad triumphs at the biggest regional sport event.

“Of course, by looking at the training schedule, competing time-tables, and player performances, fans are likely to forecast and bid the final achievements of the team. Any lower targets would not satisfy the fans. That is an invisible stress for our players,” he said. 

The squad has not yet gotten an official coach. Acting coach Hoang Van Phuc is likely to get his final deal with VFF to head the team for a long period. It means that he would lead the U23 men’s football squad at the upcoming 28-sport SEA Games 27 event.

According to head of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, Mr Vuong Bich Thang, his office clearly defended its point of view on hiring a domestic head coach to lead the national squad and the U23 squad. 

With regard to the national women’s football squad, vice head of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training cum VFF vice chairman, Mr Pham Van Tuan, confirmed that the renewal of Chinese coach Chen Yun Fat's contract is likely to be signed in the near future. 

However, the contract’s period has not been finalized due to some issues between Mr Chen Yun Fat and his governing body Dalian Football Federation. A 18-month contract is better than a 3-year contract now, and of course he will be paid more. 

As scheduled, Chen is tasked with guiding the Southeast Asian champions to defend their Southeast Asian Games title in Myanmar next December. He will also work on helping Vietnam win a spot in the finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015 in Canada.

The SEA Games 27 are to be held in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay regions and Ngwe Saung Beach from December 11 – 22, including athletics, water sports, archery, badminton, basketball, billiards & snooker, boxing, canoeing, cycling, football, golf, hockey, judo, karatedo, rowing, yacht racing, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, indoor volleyball, weight-lifting, tennis, chess, body-building, petanque and traditional rowing.

The SEA Games, held every two years since 1959, are the largest sports event in Southeast Asia and, at most, include 32 disciplines.

Sombrio wants 2nd gold for PH from SEA archery

Source: Sun Star

JAKARTA Sea Games gold medalist Dondon Sombrio is again hoping to win the country’s second archery gold medal in the 27th Myanmar Southeast Asian Games on Dec. 11-22.

Sombrio, who is the lead trainer for the Cebu City Sports Commission’s (CCSC) grassroots archery development program, is crossing his fingers to bring home the country’s second gold medal in the biennial game.

“I have qualified for the Sea Games, I placed second during the qualifying tournament. So I will be going to Myanmar if archery will be included or archers will be among those who will be sent as a token delegation,” Sombrio told Sun.Star Cebu.


The qualifying tournament was held by the Philippine Archers National Network and Alliance (Panna) last Feb. 8-10 at the Philippine Sports Commission Open Field in Ultra complex in Pasig.

It was also the qualifying round for first Asian Grand Prix, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on March 9 to 14.

“Unfortunately, I was the only Cebuano to have qualified. There were four of us who qualified; three were all from Manila. The No. 1 was Jeff Adriano. But, murag naa pa final qualifying tournament, maybe between May to July this year. But me and Jeff have already secured a slot to the Sea Games, unless we won’t be able to join the final qualifying tournament,” added Sombrio.

Sombrio had also qualified to the Asian Grand Prix and will be leaving for Bangkok on March 8.


Having another Cebuano archer joining the national and international tournaments is what Sombrio had in mind when he and the Cebu Archery Club started to partner with the CCSC for the ambitious attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest archery tournament, currently held by the US. 

“I hope that, one day, I can be with another Cebuano archer in traveling for tournaments. And my hopes are high because the people who joined our grassroots archery development are very interested and supportive,” Sombrio added.

CAC is now trying to recruit Cebuano archers who had won a medal in the Palarong Pambansa or any national tournaments to join the Team Cebu City Archery.

National athletes top selection program

Source: Jakarta Post

National athletes dominated recent table tennis qualifying with Gilang Maulana and Mira Fitria topping the men and women’s rankings, respectively.

Besides the members of the national training camp, those from outside the camp and young athletes were also given their chance to join the four-day program, which ended on Wednesday, at the Senayan Table Tennis Hall.

The athletes who qualified will be groomed for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar, the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, the SEATTA Junior championship in the Philippines and the ASEAN School Games in Vietnam.

“The selection results show that the national athletes were still dominant. But they are not guaranteed places [on the team] as there are more selection stages to follow,” national coach Anton Suseno said on Thursday as quoted by Antara news agency.

He said selection stages would be held every two to three months with the aim of having a final list of competitors three months before the SEA Games begin in December.

Indonesian Weightlifting Body Seeks Recruits for Youth Games

Source: Jakarta Globe

Indonesian weightlifting officials are searching for new athletes in an attempt to keep the Youth Olympics medal tradition alive ahead of the 2014 Games.

The country claimed its lone medal after weightlifter Dewi Safitri finished third at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics. He is hoping to succeed again at next year’s event in Nanjing, China.

But first, the athletes must qualify.

That is why the Indonesian Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding Association (Pabbsi) has begun recruiting and preparing the young squad prior to the Games qualifiers.

Organized by its Bali branch office, the federation will stage a national competition for young lifters as part of its recruitment program.

“Such an event is really helpful to find young talents for the Youth Olympics. I salute Bali for throwing the event,” Hadi Wihardja, an official of Prima, the body in charge of preparing the team for the multi-sports event, said on Wednesday.

The event, running from Monday to Feb. 28 in Denpasar, will see about 200 U-17 lifters fight for 12 to 14 spots in the national squad.

Those who are selected will be sent to participate in the Youth World Championships as well as the Youth Olympic qualification held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on April 6-13.

“We need to keep the tradition alive by giving them a lot of preparation,” Hadi said. “I hope we can improve on our achievement in Nanjing by collecting more medals.”

Before reaching the Nanjing Games, Hadi said, the lifters will still have a long way to go. The best of them will represent Indonesia at this year’s Asian Youth Games also held in Nanjing.

At the 2009 Asian Youth Games, Indonesia clinched a bronze medal after beach volleyball duo Gede Eka Agustiawan and Ade Candra Rachmawan finished in third place.

Weightlifting has been Indonesia’s best sport for medals in Olympic competitions beside badminton. The nation’s athletes have maintained medals in the sport since the 2000 Olympics.

Ministry move raises SEA Games doubts

Source: Myanmar Times

Officials gave no new opening date in a move that has raised doubts over the ministry’s SEA Games preparation.

The ministry said that the suspension was due to a scheduling conflict with high school matriculation exams that some participants need to take.

“Some team leaders proposed that we postpone the Union Cup because there are students who are contestants who are planning to sit for matriculation exams. The minister agreed with their proposal to change the date. But we have not reached a decision for the rescheduled time table,” U Htay Hlaing director of the Ministry of Sports told The Myanmar Times.

In January Minister for Sports U Tint Hsan said the date for opening was February 19. But on February 20 state-run newspapers ran a list of Union Cup events with an opening date of February 28, leading to confusion.

The Union Cup was to serve as a dry run for the 27th SEA Games, which will be held in Nay Pyi Taw in December. Opening and closing ceremonies were to be rehearsed and sport events contested with a selection of national, regional and state level athletes.

The suspension has left athletes frustrated and questioning how prepared the nation is to host the SEA Games, the first time it has done so since 1969.

“Timing is very important in sports. We set goals and we train hard to develop various skills over time. But when the goal is moved, our timing is off and imbalanced. The ministry should have considered that there are many students among the Union Cup participants,” said Win Tint, a track and field athlete who was scheduled to compete.

Win Tint added that training conditions are difficult for athletes.

“We all at Gold Camp are paid K30, 000 per month. When we miss a day of training, a day’s allowance is subtracted as if we are working for salaries. And we are not fed according to the menu,” he said.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Philippines Unaware of Other Countries in SEA Games

"A true winner is someone who is not easily upset and does not surrender. And he finds ways to get on top."

It was in 1997 SEA Games in Jakarta, Indonesia when Philippines did not make on the top 3 in the medal tally in Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. It was Malaysia who replace team Philippines for top spot that year.

In 1999 Brunei SEA Games, Philippines placed 5th overall. Singapore overtook the Filipino athletes in the medal tally race. 

Then came 2001 and 2003 SEA Games for 5th and 4th finish respectively.

When Philippines hosted the 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, they made it sure to get the top spot in the medal tally. And they did for the first and last time.

And then came the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand. Philippines landed 6th place overall. From first place to sixth place.

From then on, Philippines is placing 5th place to 6th place overall. And from last SEA Games which was held in Indonesia in 2011, Philippines placed 6th overall.

Countries that overtake Philippines with that span of time are Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. These countries slowly outdistance Filipino athletes in the medal race and continually doing good every SEA Games. These countries managed to adjust on sports being played every SEA Games.

This coming 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, it was reportedly that Philippines will finish behind the host Myanmar. Funny, right? Philippine sports officials are thinking like that. Are they losing hope? Are they pessimistic on things that will occur? If so, this will create more degrading spirit for their athletes. It is like saying that they did not trust the abilities of their national athletes and capabilities in getting the gold medals. This is not the kind of sport officials that can uplift athletes' spirit. They are degraded because of sport events scheduled this December. Where is the fighting spirit? Also, it is reported that they will more focus in Asian-level competitions. So, let's see if they will perform better than the other Southeast Asian (SEA) nations.

For 2015 SEA Games which will be hosted by Singapore, it will be impossible for Philippines to at least land on fifth place. Singapore like Myanmar has the advantage and right to include and exclude sports for the biennial meet. 

This is how it goes. The Philippines will go down deep in the medal tally because of the kind of sport events competed every SEA Games and also the choosiness of Philippines.

Also, Myanmar and Laos will slowly overtake Philippines in many sports in SEA Games.

In few years to come, Philippines will be same level with Laos if they will not try to compete and just surrender in many sports played in SEA Games. Laos in the last SEA Games garnered 9 gold medals far beyond their normal 1-2 gold medal harvest. This means that they are improving in SEA Games. It is also an indication that they are getting the right and correct formula in SEA Games. 

So, how long will Philippines wait until it finally host SEA Games and again top the medal tally? (Or at least land on the top three?) Will they send a token delegation if they host the SEA Games? (I'm just joking.)

 [Admin 2]

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Vietnam to spend 29 mln USD in sports in 2013

Source: NZ Week

HANOI, Feb. 20 — The Vietnamese government is expected to invest some 600 billion Vietnamese dong (VND) (nearly 29 million U.S. dollars) in developing sports in 2013, Vietnam’s state-run news agency reported on Wednesday.

According to Lam Quang Thanh, deputy head of the National Sport Administration, more than 46 billion VND (2.2 million dollars) will be spent on preparations to compete at the 27th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Myanmar in December.

The SEA Games are regarded as a valuable chance for the country’s athletes to improve performances ahead of events such as the Asian Games in South Korea next year and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics two years later.

The investment will not be spread as widely across all sports, Thanh said. Sports including football, volleyball and table tennis, which lag behind others, will be assigned to their federations who will take full responsibility for their sport’s development.

In the sports development strategy by 2020, Vietnam sets its sight on a top-three ranking in the SEA Games tally and plans to have 45 athletes to pass the qualifiers and to earn medals at the Olympics in 2020.

China Union Pay Card Launched in Myanmar

Source: CRI English

China Union Pay (CUP) card services was launched in cooperation with Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) card in Myanmar's Yangon Saturday, signifying the formal introduction of services of the CUP in the Southeast Asian nation. 

Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar U Than Nyein and Chief Resident Representative of CUP (Southeast Asia Region) Yang Wenhui delivered speeches at the launching ceremony, saying that the introduction of CUP services in Myanmar has opened a new page of cooperation between CUP and MPU. 

Users of CUP can withdraw Myanmar Kyat currency from the automatic tellers machines (MTU) of MPU member banks and make payment at its points-of-sale as well as at relevant hotels. 

MPU and CUP signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement in March 2012 and a memorandum of understanding in November of the year on Myanmar's acceptance of acquiring process of CUP. 

MPU was established in September 2011 by 17 domestic banks in Myanmar including three state-owned banks and 14 private banks and starting September 2012, MPU debit card was introduced for services domestically. 

At present, there has been 198 ATMs and 465 points-of-sale with the MPU member bank network. 

Over 10 years since CUP started operation, it has become the most rapid payment brand in the international market with its business services expanded to cover 141 countries and regions including Myanmar. 

In terms of the number of card issued, the CUP has also become the world's biggest brand of bank card payment. 

Master Card was introduced as the first international electronic payment card in Myanmar in November 2012, followed by Visa Card in December of the year. 

There is a total of 19 private banks and four state-owned banks in Myanmar. 

The move-in of the international bank cards came after the United States eased some financial sanctions on the country, before which foreign visitors were unable to use international credit cards on account of such sanctions on money transactions since 2003. 

Besides Master, Visa and CUP cards, Myanmar has also allowed introducing services for JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) to facilitate foreign travelers in domestic payment. 

It is the latest reform of Myanmar's monetary sector made in coordination with the member banks of MPU, the Central Bank of Myanmar, Internal Revenue Department, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and Myanmar Information Technology (MIT) Co.. 

The move is also seen as being made timely in preparation for the upcoming Myanmar-host 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in late 2013.

Chiz: SEAG must raise level of sports

Source: Manila Standard Today

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero yesterday encouraged government to support the Philippine Olympic Committee's efforts to standardize events in Southeast Asian Games to help raise the level of sports in the region.

Escudero, an avid pistol shooter and biker, said the Philippine Sports Commission can also start discussions with its regional counterparts to help stir efforts for a harmonized calendar of events in future Games while keeping true to their commitment to propagate indigenous sports on the side.

“I believe governments can make an impact in raising the level of sports in Southeast Asia,” Escudero said.
“While national Olympic committees—including the POC—are autonomous and free from political pressure and interference, I believe there is a very thin line of division while maintaining a high respect between NOCs and governments that would merit cooperation in this line,” Escudero added.

Escudero noted that no Southeast Asian country had won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in London, with all SEAG countries posting lower results compared to their performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Medal-winning SEAG countries were Thailand (two silvers and one bronze),  Indonesia (one silver and one bronze), Malaysia (one silver and one bronze) and Singapore (two bronze medals) while Vietnam, East Timor, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines did not have any medal.

“This is a bad sign for the region. We have been struggling in sports for so long, and news about SEA Games hosts clipping Olympic sports from their calendars if only to ensure their own victories in sports unfamiliar to their neighbors do not help the region in any way,” Escudero said.

“At most, they garner only miniscule and temporary gains,” Escudero said. “Maybe it’s high time we think about the region’s sports future by supporting calls for a standard calendar in future SEA Games.”

Escudero said government could help raise the level of participation among the youth, especially in disciplines being played in the Olympics, by introducing them in the physical education curricula of the Department of Education.

“Go play basketball, which is still the most popular sport in the country. But play other sports, too,” Escudero said.

Government, according to Escudero, should also look at the long term by building more sports facilities in key cities and provinces, or by entering into partnerships with the private sector in constructing and maintaining athletic tracks and gymnasiums.

“Sports has long been in the sidelines of government priorities, but it is important in gauging a country’s economic growth. More developed countries have Olympic champions, we have none yet,” Escudero said.

But keeping a regular Olympic program in the SEA Games, according to Escudero, would raise the level of competition and improve athletes, including Filipino athletes who have yet to win more than two silver medals in the previous editions of the Olympics.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vietnamese targets four SEA Games judo golds

Source: Vietnam News

HA NOI – Coach Le Duy Hai said that his judo team aims to get four gold medals at the coming 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar later this year.

All 41 athletes were summoned yesterday to start training in Ha Noi. They will have their first competition at the Asian Judo Championships in Thailand on April 26-29.

At the last SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago, Viet Nam pocketed four gold, two silver and five bronze medals.

SEA games chief lays down law

Source: Asia One

The first thing Annabel Pennefather did after being announced as the chef de mission of Singapore's contingent to December's SEA Games in Myanmar was to apologise.

"If you were expecting a fresh face, I'm sorry - it's me again," laughed the 63-year-old veteran sports official.

Her appointment on Wednesday would complete her resume of major tournaments, having also been chief of the 2002 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 2006 Asian Games and 2004 Olympic Games in Greece.

But the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) vice-president also warned that she will brook no nonsense at the Dec 11-22 SEA Games in Naypyidaw,where 460 events will be competed across 33 sports.

"I will be reminding the athletes, managers and officials that we have to be prepared for every thing," she said. "We don't want errors in the technical areas, which have cost us some outcomes in the past."

At last year's London Games, swimmer Joseph Schooling was called aside 10 minutes before his Olympic debut because his cap and goggles were not on the list of approved equipment.

The incident rattled the 17-year-old, he performed poorly in the 200m butterfly, posting a time more than two seconds off his personal best.

"Reading technical regulations is not difficult. You just make sure you follow it to the letter," added Pennefather, a lawyer.

She called for the Singapore contingent to maintain their position on the final medal tally - the Republic has been ranked from fourth to sixth since the 1993 edition.

Yet she also spoke against being too focused on medals and results, calling it "not productive".

She pointed to the rise in reports of doping and match-fixing in sport, as well as the damning review on the Australian swimming team who flopped in London.

The review, whose findings were released on Tuesday, showed that several athletes felt too much attention was given to the team's bigger stars.

And swimmers who failed to meet expectations were left on their own to sulk, leading to poor morale in the team.

"By just focusing on medals we may be unwittingly encouraging the athletes to take short cuts, who may feel that is the only way to gain recognition or financial gain," said Pennefather, who until last year was the Singapore Hockey Federation's president, a post she held since 2004.

"The SEA Games will be the highest-level event that many of our athletes will go to. Do we then write the rest (who don't win medals) off?"

But SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan also stressed that national sports associations need to nominate their best athletes for the SEA Games, and not treat it as merely a training ground to gain experience on.
He said: "The selection process says the qualifying criteria is the third-place finish from the previous Games, it's very simple."

Different transport issue for Myanmar games

Source: Asia One

The 2011 South-east Asia (SEA) Games were held in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia, and the famous traffic snarl in the capital was a nightmare for everyone.

This year's SEA Games will return to Myanmar after a 44-year hiatus, and will be held in the new capital Naypyidaw.

While traffic there is reportedly smooth, transport will still be an issue at this year's Games from Dec 11 to 22.

While the capital has its own airport, there are currently no direct international commercial flights into Naypyidaw - where the bulk of the events will be held.

Internal flights are unpredictable, with an Air Bagan flight crash-landing in the eastern Shan state last December, killing two passengers.

Athletes and officials are likely to have to endure a four-hour road journey from Yangon to Naypyidaw after they land in Myanmar for the Games.

Annabel Pennefather, who was named Team Singapore's chef-de-mission for the Games on Wednesday, said: "The travel is going to be a challenge and bussing them up (to Naypyidaw) is probably the safer option right now."

A team - comprising officials from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), Singapore Sports Council and Singapore Sports Institute, among others - will leave for Myanmar on Monday to conduct recces on the sports venues and possible locations for the Team Singapore recovery house.

SNOC secretary general Chris Chan - who has visited Naypyidaw on several occasions for SEA Games meetings - is satisfied with the country's preparations.

Most of the venues are slated for completion by the end of next month, with the Athletes' Village already completed last year.

Pennefather vowed to take extra care with the morale of the team, as a portion of the estimated 400-strong contingent will be situated away from the Games Village, with events slated for other cities like Mandalay and Yangon.

She is keen to avoid a repeat of the snafu at last year's London Olympics, where swimmer Joseph Schooling had to scramble for another swim cap just minutes before his 200m butterfly heats because his original did not meet the technical specifications.

Pennefather said: "I will be reminding the officials and managers that we have to be prepared for everything, as we do not want errors that will cost us.

"It's very important that they take it as seriously as we do, that they read the technical regulations and follow them to the letter. There's no question about that."

SEA Games selection will be stringent

Source: Asia One

National sports associations (NSAs) can expect unscheduled visits and credibility checks before selection for this year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, from Dec 11 to 22.

Selection for the Team Singapore contingent will be held in August.

Chef-de-mission (CDM) Annabel Pennefather and Special Training Assistance Committee (STAC) chairman Tan Eng Liang will make unscheduled visits to observe athletes in training, before the Games Selection Committee meets to decide on the estimated 400-strong Singapore contingent for the Games.

There are typically three rounds of visits and briefings with the NSAs.

The first round is nearing completion, according to Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) secretary general Chris Chan.

Speaking at a briefing on Wednesday, he said: "We started earlier this year because we wanted to cover all the Games in these two years - this year's Asian Youth Games, SEA Games, the Youth Olympic Games (2014), Commonwealth Games (2014) and Asian Games (2014).

"The first round is done in a classroom setting where they discuss their plans with us for the Games. While we previously inform NSAs when we'd visit to observe the athletes in training, Dr Tan has said that we'll not do that this time round, and what we observe will be factored into the selection process."

The final round of visits will be done after selection in August.

NSAs have already been reminded of the selection criteria - based on the bronze-medal performance at the previous Games, but with some leeway for young athletes with potential, with the tussle between Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and the SNOC ahead of the 2011 Games still fresh in the minds of some.

Then, the STTA had planned to field youngsters like Pang Xue Jie and Isabelle Li in the name of exposure, but the SNOC rejected their initial nomination, insisting that the best athletes should represent the country.

The STTA subsequently made changes, such as replacing Yu Mengyu with Singapore No. 1 Feng Tianwei in the women's singles, and the nomination was approved.

A "credibility" factor - debuted in the selection process for the 2011 Games - will also be used this year.

Chan said the Games Selection Committee will judge an NSA's "credibility" after looking at the number of medals and personal bests the sport achieved in the previous Games, compared to the size of its contingent there.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Vietnam to host 5th ASEAN School Games

Source: Xinhua

HANOI (Xinhua) -- The fifth ASEAN School Games will take place here from June 22-30, Vietnam's state-run news agency reported on Wednesday.

The event is expected to attract 1,500 athletes and coaches from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the report, regional students will compete in track and field, sepak takraw, swimming, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, table tennis, volleyball and pencak silat.

Host Vietnam eyes 20-25 gold medals.

The ASEAN School Games is an annual sporting event which aims to enhance friendship among students around the region. The fourth edition was held in Indonesia in 2012.

Nuzul Azwan Hopes To Become First Petanque Gold Medal Winner In SEA Games

Source: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 (Bernama) -- National petanque player Mohamad Nuzul Azwan Ahmad Temizi hopes to become the first gold medal winner for petanque at the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games after failing a similar effort two years ago.

The Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia automotive engineering student said no Malaysian has won a gold medal in petanque since the sport was first included in 2001.

The Kuala Kangsar, Perak lad who competes in the men's category told Bernama that he and his team mates were preparing for the Pattaya Petanque Master championships, scheduled from March 8-10 in Thailand.

"The championships will be the best platform for and my team mates to gauge our ability against other renown players in the world, especially from France who are the pioneers in the sport," he said.

Nuzul Azwan, 24, said since the sport requires a high level of technical expertise and focus, players would need to continuously upgrade their skills to remain competitive.

"If we don't improve our skills, we cannot compete against the best players in the world. Players from France are a force to be reckoned with," he said.

For the record, the national petanque team managed two silver medals in the 2009 SEA Games hosted by Laos.

SEA Games spotlight China grip in Myanmar

Source: The Myanmar Times

While ASEAN nations squabble over which sports will be included on the program at this year’s Southeast Asian Games, another country has quietly asserted itself as an important player in the regional sporting event.
China, Myanmar’s neighbour and a world sporting power, has been involved in nearly all aspects of the preparation for the SEA Games, from stadium construction to the planning of the elaborate ceremonies that will mark the event’s opening and closing.

The first discussions on receiving Chinese assistance to hold the games took place in May 2011, when President U Thein Sein travelled to Beijing and met Chinese President Hu Jintao, said Deputy Minister for Sport U Thaung Htike, who is also vice president of the Myanmar Olympic Committee.

Three visits from Chinese sports officials followed and five areas of cooperation were identified.

It was decided that 28 Chinese coaches would spend a year in Myanmar training athletes, paid for by the Chinese government. Additionally, 176 athletes would be sent for specialised training in China.

China also agreed to donate training equipment, while Chinese experts were to be dispatched to provide technical assistance for game management systems like time keeping. Finally, theatre professionals would be sent to offer guidance to the Ministry of Culture on the event’s opening and closing ceremonies.

The 28 coaches, led by head coach Zhang Jingsheng, arrived on December 28, 2012 to begin their year long stay in country. Less than a month later, on January 12, 24 choreographers, directors and staging experts arrived for a four-day visit.

The technical experts are scheduled to arrive three months before the games open on December 11. U Thaung Htike said a major task for the experts was to introduce a timing system “that is to international standards”, so any international records set at the games are definitive.

But even before the arrival of the coaches and experts, China had already managed to get a piece of the SEA Games action.

Engineering and design of the massive sporting complex in Nay Pyi Taw, started three years ago, planning was handled by a Chinese firm, information distributed by Max Myanmar, which is building the three stadiums, shows.

As the stadiums neared completion in December, U Khin Maung Kywe, director of construction at Max Myanmar, said that Chinese workers were busy finishing the roofing. The stadium that will host many of the SEA Games’ premier events, including football, athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies, opened to much fanfare last month.

While Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua has covered Beijing’s support for the SEA Games extensively, Myanmar’s state-run media has barely mentioned China’s role. This is no accident: U Thaung Htike expressed concern that Myanmar citizens would be upset if they were aware of the extent on Chinese involvement in what is to be Myanmar’s regional coming-out party, just months before the country takes up its much-coveted role as chair of ASEAN.  

He said some of Myanmar’s athletes were being trained by international coaches. Myanmar’s football team is headed by a South Korean, while its boxers are receiving guidance from a coach from Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, a Bulgarian is instructing the weightlifting team.

Neither China’s role nor concerns about China’s role are new to the SEA Games. At the 25th SEA Games in Laos in 2009, underlying negative feelings towards China were fanned by the proposed location of the National Sports Complex, said Simon Creak, an associate professor at Kyoto University’s Centre for Southeast Asian Studies who has researched and written extensively on the past two SEA Games.

“Chinese finance and developers were enlisted to fund and construct the new National Sports Complex on the outskirts of Vientiane, reputedly worth US$100 million. In return, the developers were granted a concession to develop 1640 hectares of land in the That Luang Marsh in central Vientiane – near the revered That Luang stupa, the country’s most important Buddhist site and national symbol,” Mr Creak said.

“This project and popular responses to it exacerbated existing antipathies towards the growing Chinese presence – and visibility – in Laos,” he said.

“The project was slammed by locals – including, apparently, members of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, who had not been consulted – with much of the criticism framed in anti-Chinese terms. Anonymous online critics accused Somsavat Lengsavat, the government minister [and a senior deputy prime minister] of ‘treason’, based on the perception that his Chinese heritage made him unduly favourable to Chinese interests.”

Eventually the complex was moved to a less controversial location.

In Myanmar, the SEA Games represents an opportunity for China to assert its soft power at a time when its political, if not economic, influence in the country appears on the wane. Sport could provide a new and potentially low-risk avenue for the Chinese government and Chinese firms to expand engagement with Nay Pyi Taw.

China has also been on the receiving end of this kind of diplomatic maneuvering. Eighteen years before it hosted the 2008 Olympics, Beijing hosted the Asian Games.

It was a little more than a year after the Tiananmen Square protests and the fallout from the massacre left China with few friends willing to assist in them to organise what, at that time, was the largest international sporting event China had hosted.

“According to diplomatic sources, many multinational corporations still active in China have withdrawn their support for the games since last year's crackdown, which left several hundred people dead. These sources said that international outrage over the crackdown has all but eliminated China's hopes of persuading the International Olympic Committee to hold the Summer Olympics of 2000 in Beijing,” Mark Fineman reported in The Los Angeles Times in January 1990.

Breaking with the international community, South Korea, the host of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Olympics, stepped forward to lend its expertise to China, despite the two countries not having formal diplomatic ties. Two years later, in August of 1992, the once bitter foes normalised relations.

But Myanmar and China already have strong ties and there is some skepticism over Chinese intentions in providing assistance, and potential strings that may be attached to the support.

“There are some countries that have assisted Myanmar and they never expect anything. But I believe this Chinese assistance for the SEA Games was the kind of a give and take with the expectation of returns from Myanmar, rather than a pure goodwill,” said U Khine Maung Yi, the Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Ahlone and a member of the Pyithu Hluttaw Sport, Culture, Literature and Art and People Relations Committee.

“They [China] try to enter Myanmar through any means … but they usually just see business opportunities.”

Pennefather is SEA Games chef de mission

Source: Strait Times

Annabel Pennefather, Team Singapore's chef de mission at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, at a press conference on Oct 15, 2010. The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) on Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013, appointed Annabel Pennefather as the Republic's chef de mission to December's SEA Games in Myanmar. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) on Wednesday appointed Annabel Pennefather as the Republic's chef de mission to December's SEA Games in Myanmar.

She is an SNOC vice-president and is also a former president of the Singapore Hockey Federation.

A lawyer by profession, she is a veteran in leading Singapore athletes to major tournaments, having also been the chef de mission to the 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2004 Olympics, 2006 Asian Games and, most recently, the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Pennefather, 63, also sits on the steering committee of the 2015 SEA Games. She hopes her experience in Myanmar will be helpful when the Republic hosts the next edition of the biennial event.

National athletes top selection program

Source: The Jakarta Post

National athletes dominated recent table tennis qualifying with Gilang Maulana and Mira Fitria topping the men and women’s rankings, respectively.

Besides the members of the national training camp, those from outside the camp and young athletes were also given their chance to join the four-day program, which ended on Wednesday, at the Senayan Table Tennis Hall.

The athletes who qualified will be groomed for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar, the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, the SEATTA Junior championship in the Philippines and the ASEAN School Games in Vietnam.

“The selection results show that the national athletes were still dominant. But they are not guaranteed places [on the team] as there are more selection stages to follow,” national coach Anton Suseno said on Thursday as quoted by Antara news agency.

He said selection stages would be held every two to three months with the aim of having a final list of competitors three months before the SEA Games begin in December.

Schzuan on track to win Mynamar SEA Games berth

Source: The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Middle distance runner Schzuan Ahmad Rosely (pic) stayed on course to fulfil his dream of glory in the SEA Games by getting off to a winning start for the year.

The 21-year-old turned in an impressive showing at the Federal Territory Amateur Athletics Association (FTAA)-MSSKL Throws, Jumps and Under Distance 2013 meet held at the National Sports Council Training Track in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.

Sczhuan blazed the tracks en route to victory in the 600m race with a personal best time of 1:21.50. His previous best was 1:25.20. Navy’s S. Mathialagan (1:23.16) and Bukit Jalil Sports School’s Revin Ramuh (1:24.16) took silver and bronze respectively.

“I’m satisfied with the result. I usually run the 400m so this was like a training, and to achieve my personal best in my first competition this year is a bonus,” said Schzuan.

“My coach (K. Jayabalan) initially targeted a time of 1:22.50 for me. I clocked 1:21.50 which was even better. I know my coach is happy with my performance ... I can sleep easy now. ”

Schzuan has set his sights on achieving glory in the men’s 400m race at the SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, this December.

While it is still early, Schzuan admits winning his first competition of the year is a morale booster and the Malacca-born runner hopes to carry on improving to put himself in good stead to qualify for the Games.

“My long-term goal is to qualify for the SEA Games. I will work towards that goal. I want to taste individual victory in the 400m,” he said.

Schzuan’s personal best in the 400m is 47.68 which he set en route to winning the silver medal at the 2012 Sukma in Kuantan, Pahang. The Games’ qualifying mark for the event is 47.71.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Schedules of 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games Indonesia

Source: 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games website:

Category B Athletes, Officials Must Pay For Expenses Upfront Or Miss SEA Games - OCM

Source: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 (Bernama) -- Athletes and officials taking part in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games under Category B, will have to pay their expenses a month before leaving for the games.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said the council need to be firm so that national sports organisations (NSA) would be more responsible while the OCM would not incur any losses.

If the respective NSA fail to settle the expenses for flight, accommodation, food and attire, OCM would not allow athletes or officials to participate.

In the past, the OCM had been tolerant in paying the cost incurred for sending athletes and officials under Category B, up front, hoping the NSA would reimburse such expenses.

"However, based on our past experience, NSA fail to fulfill their promise. So, this time around we need to be firm. No money, no games. Sadly though...the losers will be the athletes. So we want the NSA to be more responsible. When we paid for them, we trusted them to pay back but it did not happen in many cases," he told Bernama Friday.

The expenses for athletes who qualify for the games on merit under Category A, would be borne by OCM.

However, if a Category B athletes wins a medal, (at least a silver), their expenses would be reimbursed.

NSA normally do not pay when their athletes fail to win any medals.

The Myanmar SEA Games will be held from Dec 11 to 22 and the OCM are expected to decide the number of athletes by July.

Sepak Takraw Federation holds trials to select players for SEA Games

Source: Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Sepak takraw players from 10 clubs are vying for spots on the national team to represent Singapore in the SEA Games in December.

15 players were chosen on Saturday from more than 30 hopefuls.

The chosen 15 will join the current Sepak Takraw National Team, bringing the team's total strength to 25.

Still, only 12 will make the final cut for the team when selections are made in June.

At a media conference on Saturday, the Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation (PERSES) said with its current training regime, it is optimistic about bringing back a medal from the Games.

Shamsuri Hasber, national team manager at Singapore Sepak Takraw Federation said: "In preparation for the coming SEA games, PERSES has collaborated with countries including Indonesia and Malaysia for our centralised training with them, so that our players, our national players can be exposed and improve in their performance for the coming SEA games."

Abap eyes lean, but strong SEAG squad

Source: The Daily Tribune

The Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) will be sending its best talents when it competes in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

According to Abap executive director Ed Picson, they are looking to send around eight of their finest boxers to make sure they can either match or surpass their performance of four gold medals in the previous SEA Games in Indonesia.

One stumbling block, however, is the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), which is floating the idea of sending only a token delegation to what was billed as the third smallest SEA Games ever next to Brunei in 1999 and Laos in 2009.

Some national sports associations (NSAs) already abide by the POC with swimming sending only two athletes while chess already called for a boycott after the organizers scrapped the events where Filipino woodpushers have a good chance of winning.

Picson said his wards are slowly reaching their peak and could be a good source of gold medal for a lean and mean Philippine contingent.

“Whether token delegation or not, we’ll make sure to send only those who can deliver gold medals for the country,” Picson yesterday said. “Our boxers are working hard. I expect them to reach their peak in the next few months, just in time for the SEA Games in December.”

Emerging victorious for boxing in the previous SEA Games were Charly Suarez (light flyweight), Dennis Galvan (light welterweight), Josie Gabuco (pinweight) and Alice Appari (light flyweight).

Aside from Olympian Mark Barriga, Picson couldn’t speculate on the composition of this year’s team as most of them are still battling for slots.

“We may never know what will happen,” he said. “Even if our boxers are already well-prepared, we still have to consider their conditioning, health, even their personal life. Amateur boxing is a very unpredictable sport. But to be sure, we will send only the best.”

Abap, meanwhile, will be holding its national congress and elections on Feb. 21 where Ricky Vargas will be gunning for another four-year term. The event will coincide with the PLDT-Abap National Youth Championship in Maasin City, Southern Leyte.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Boonyarit ready to lead SEA Games sweep

Source: Bangkok Post

Thailand may have been disappointed when it was announced that some Olympic sports are to be dropped from the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar in December. But there is no concern among golf fans, who are looking forward to their players dominating the competition.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, left, and Thailand national coach Boonyarit Euasilprasart launch the new Titleist ball last week.

Thailand's bid to win their first ever golfing medal at the Asian Games failed in Guangzhou in 2010, despite plenty of hard work.

With sights now set on the next Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, South Korea next year, Thailand's golfers are aiming to sweep all four gold medals at this year's SEA Games.

After the disappointment of the Asian Games, the Thailand Golf Association (TGA) made several changes.

American coach Gerry Norquist was replaced by Boonyarit Euasilprasart to coach the men and Wirada Nirapathpongporn to coach the women.

In Myanmar, Thailand hopes to improve on the previous Games _ in Indonesia in 2011 _ where they won two gold medals, in the men's individual and men's team, along with three silver medals, in the men's individual, women's individual and women's team.

Boonyarit, who has been in charge of the team since late last year, aims to at least match the haul of medals from Indonesia.

"We can beat every country in the region," Boonyarit said.

"I want my players to win the gold in both the men's individual and team events. I also hope we can win the silver in the men's individual."

Boonyarit expects his players to play 37 holes every day and undergo fitness training. After taking his 10-man squad to train in Hua Hin last week, the coach was satisfied with their work.

"So far, I am happy with their games," Boonyarit said.

"During practice, I set up the course like on the Asian Tour, with a tough pin placement.
"I always make it tougher for them to give them more experience."

TGA president Rungsrid Luxitanond shares the coach's confidence and expects Boonyarit to takes the team to the next level.

"Boonyarit will bring a new dimension to the team," he said. "He is well-known for his knowledge of golf and for his discipline."

Thailand ace Kiradech Aphibarnrat also praised the TGA for appointing Boonyarit as the national coach.

"It is a good decision and I am happy the young golfers have such a great coach," said Kiradech, who is coached by Boonyarit.

"He might be tough but his golf knowledge is great. He makes every shot easier."

Although Thailand's professionals are accomplished on the international stage, their amateurs are less well-known.

Boonyarit must select four players for the SEA Games and, although there are still tournaments to be played before he finalises his team, Boonyarit already has an idea of which players will make the cut.

"Natipong Srithong is the first and the second will be Itthipat Buranathanyarat," he said.

"I am sure they will have bright futures. For the other two spots, I need more time to decide."

Daniel’s back and Malaysia can expect more golds from pool in Myanmar SEA Games

Source: The Star

Daniel Bego says it will take six months to be in his best form.
Daniel Bego says it will take six months to be in his best form.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can expect to win more gold medals in the Myanmar SEA Games in December with the return of national swimmer Daniel Bego.

The Miri-born swimmer, who bagged five gold medals in the 2009 Korat Games, missed the last biennial Games in Palembang due to injuries to his shoulders.

He has been missing from the pool after undergoing surgery to correct a long standing bone spur problems on both shoulders in April 2011.

Daniel started training two-and-half months ago after undergoing rehabilitation for couple of months.

The 23-year-old Daniel said that he was happy to be back in training after the long layoff.

“Although I have been training for 10 weeks now, I’m still not in top form yet. It’ll take me six months to be in my best form. I’m slowly building up my stamina and muscle strength,” said Daniel, who is coached by Paul Birmingham.

Daniel featured in his first competition in Perth last month, doing reasonably well to win the gold in the 200m freestyle in 1:53.03 and silver in the 400m freestyle in 3:57.89.

Daniel said that he was more than pleased with the times he clocked although he failed to surpass the SEA Games qualifying marks.

“I need to train harder and compete in a few more tournaments to further improve my times and qualify for the SEA Games.

“I won five gold medals in the 2009 Laos SEA Games and expectations will be high on me to deliver the same number of gold medals, if not more, in Myanmar,” said Daniel, who also holds six individual national records – 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly and 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle.

Daniel, who featured in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, hopes to give his best in the Malaysian Open in May to qualify for the SEA Games.

Daniel has featured in four SEA Games – Vietnam (2003), Manila (2005), Korat (2007) and Laos (2009).

Coach Rashid laments absence of team event in SEA Games

Source: The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: National singles coach Rashid Sidek feels that Myan­mar’s decision to drop the badminton team event from the SEA Ga­mes in December has robbed Ma­laysia of a chance to gauge their strength against perennial rivals Indo­nesia ahead of the Thomas Cup next year.

“It will be a missed opportunity for us. We wanted to field a younger team for the SEA Games. It would have been good to see where they stand against Indonesia, who usually take the SEA Games very seriously and would have sent their best,” said Rashid.

“The timing would have been great too as it would have given us a last chance (at the end of the year) to assess the team’s strength before the Finals.”

Without the team event, there will be five medals at stake in the SEA Games – in the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Rashid said there were other platforms for the coaches to evaluate the team’s strength.

One was the recently concluded Indonesian Super League. And then there’s the mixed team events – the Axiata Cup next month and Sudirman Cup in May.

“The Indonesian Super League was good as we exposed Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Goh Soon Huat to a competitive atmosphere. Soon Huat was a reserve but his first taste of being in a team event would have been invaluable to him,” said Rashid.

“Daren, Wei Feng and Arif also gained a lot of experience. They also scored some important wins which would be good for their morale.”

Rashid said they would not hesitate to field these players in the Axiata Cup and Sudirman Cup.

“The Axiata Cup will be a mixed team affair. We may give some players a chance so that we can see how they cope in team events,” he said.

Indonesia Pushing for Tennis and Gymnastics in SEA Games

Source: The Irrawaddy

After Indonesian support helped bring badminton back to the lineup for the Southeast Asia Games in Burma this year, the country is pushing for two other dropped sports—tennis and gymnastics—to be put on the agenda.

Wibowo Suseno Wirjawan, president of the Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti), said the federation has been in touch with other federations of countries participating in the Games to raise support for the inclusion of the sport.

“We all have heard about the situation of the preparation for the Games. Now we are trying to make efforts to get tennis back onto the list by corresponding with other countries’ federations,” Wibowo said.

Pelti, Wibowo said, is also corresponding with the International Tennis Federation, hoping to gain the support of the sport’s world governing body to help in the efforts to include tennis in the Games.

Indonesia took home four gold, two silvers, and two bronze medals in tennis at the 2011 Games, with Indonesia’s No. 1 player, Christopher Rungkat, responsible for three out of the four golds.

The Indonesian Gymnastics Association (Persani) has also been engaging in the similar efforts. Together with federations of other countries and the Asian Gymnastic Union, Persani has discussed every possible way to get gymnastics back in the competition.

“We all have major concerns over why the organizers decided to scrap gymnastics from the Games while the sport is competed in the Olympics. We keep discussing it with the host country,” Persani chairman Jati Waluyo said.

Gymnastics is one of original sports of the Olympic movement. The sport has been contested since the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Rita Subowo, president of the Indonesia Olympic Committee (KOI), said the committee is ready to support both federations in fighting for the sports to be competed in the Burma Games.

“It is not yet the end. We are still in talks with the other countries’ national Olympic committees to fight for the two sports,” Rita said.

Organizers previously dropped badminton from the Games because Burma said it lacked the proper facilities. However, the SEA Games Federation Council meeting last month decided to include the sport in the Games.

Pinoy athletes scrambling for crumbs?

Source: Malaya Business Insight

WITH host Myanmar having loaded the 27th Southeast Asian Games with medal-rich combat sports, some of them unfamiliar to Filipino athletes, the Philippines could be left scrambling for crumbs, according to national team chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.

“We and the other participating countries were left with the impression that what Myanmar would be hosting was the ‘Southeast Asian Martial Arts Games,’” Tamayo told Malaya-Business Insight. “This could result in a lot of heavy baggage for our Filipino athletes going there.

“Myanmar organizers made it clear in our meeting their aim was to improve on their seventh-place overall in the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games,” added the Philippine Olympic Committee second vice president, a member of the four-man POC contingent that attended the SEA Games Federation meeting in the Burmese capital of Naypyitaw last week.

This could be ominous for the Philippines, which finished sixth overall in the Indonesia SEA Games two years ago with an anemic haul of 36 gold, 56 silver and 77 bronze medals.

Aside from excluding such disciplines as tennis and gymnastics, both Olympic sports, and soft tennis and reducing the shooting competitions to only 10 events, the hosts had included martial arts such as vovinam and kenpo as medal sports, Tamayo added.

Vovinam is an ethnic Vietnamese martial art while kenpo is a variation of Japanese karate, which are both obscure to Filipino athletes.

Vovinam, Tamayo said, offers gold medals in the team, mixed, men’s and women’s artistic style events.  The total number of events in karate, wushu and taekwondo has also been incread.

Unlike measurable events such as athletics and swimming, Tamayo said the martial arts events are subjective, or based on human judgment,” which may either be prone to error or, worse, cheating.”

Given these conditions, he said the POC should set stringent criteria for SEA Games hopefuls “so we can only send those with true medal potentials to Myanmar.”

Joey Romasanta, the POC first vice president who also heads the Philippine Karatedo Federation, backed Tamayo’s proposal “because we cannot afford to take the SEA Games lightly since the Filipino public might not be forgiving if we have another poor showing in Myanmar.”

In an earlier interview, POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. floated the idea of sending a token delegation to Myanmar.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

OCM Takes PSC To Task For Questioning Myanmar's Decision To Include Unpopular Sports

Source: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) took the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to task for questioning the way Myanmar was organising the 2013 SEA Games.

OCM Honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said PSC should not raise the issue now since the Philippines Olympic Council had also attended the SEA Games Federation (SGF) meeting in Myanmar last month and had agreed to decisions made during the meeting.

"The issue (to question the way Myanmar was organising the 2013 SEA Games) should not arise...if the Philippines decide to boycott, it too cannot be done now because a decision has been made.

"What need to be raised has already been raised and deliberated at the SGF meeting and the action of the Philippines might tarnish the image of SGF and Myanmar as the host," he told Bernama when met at his office, here, Thursday.

Kok Chi said PSC chairman Richie Garcia was quoted in an online portal recently that he was disappointed with Myanmar, who host the 2013 SEA Games from Dec 11 to 22, for including unpopular sports in the programme.

Among grouses raised by Garcia was Myanmar's decision to include about 60 events that are not popular among other participating countries, especially sports like kempo and vovinam.

He claimed that the move may cost the Philippines contingent dear and could result in the country finishing behind Myanmar in the medal tally.

Garcia was also quoted as saying that since PSC would bear the cost of sending the Philippines contingent to Myanmar, they (PSC) might decide to send a 'token delegation' of about 50 athletes or less to Myanmar.

Kok Chi said it was a norm among host nations to include a number of sports that they (host) are prominent in, to boost their medal collection.

He said countries like Thailand, Indonesia and even the Philippines had resorted to such moves when they hosted the games, to enhance their medal collection.

Kok Chi said the issue raised by the PSC was actually to cover their own weakness since the country's development in sports over the past few years, had deteriorated.

"For example, in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics, the Philippines did not win any medals. So, they are using this excuse to cover their weakness.

"Myanmar had only listed a few types of traditional sports and the Philippines can still participate in many other sports," he said.

He urged all SGF member countries to provide their support to Myanmar as the host of the 2013 SEA Games since the country was hosting the games after 40 years.

Furthermore, in efforts to host the games, Myanmar had build two swimming pools, six indoor stadiums and two open stadiums.

"Organising the SEA Games is a platform for Myanmar to develop its sports facilities and we must support their effort, just like when Vietnam first hosted the SEA Games in 2003. Vietnam has since undergone rapid development in sports," he said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Floorball calendared as demo sport at 2013 SEA Games

Source: The Brunei Times

THE BRUNEI Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC) yesterday revealed that floorball will be included as a demonstration sport during December's 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

The decision to include the sport which is a type of floor hockey during the December 11-22 regional meet was made during a Southeast Asian Games Federation Council in Myanmar late last month.

A developing game in the region, the Singapore Floorball Association reported that out of the 11 SEA Games countries, five are currently International Floorball Federation (IFF) members; Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

It also added that that floorball will likely be included in 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.

Though the game is non-existant in Brunei, the news that it will be included as a demostration sport might pave the way for the setting up of a floorball association in the country.

The International Floorball Federation's promotional flyer on the sport sent by BNOC yesterday said that since the first floorball federation was founded in 1981 in Sweden, the sport has

spread all over the world and it is now played in over 60 countries.

"During the 30 years of floorball history, the development and growth of the sport has been amazing. Floorball is the fastest growing sport in a number of countries and now has a total of 300,000 licensed players and approximately 2 million recreational players in the world," said the flyer.

"There are no signs that this positive development would slow down in the near future. Although floorball is a professional sport amongst the elite players requiring their fulltime involvement, it is still also a sport for all.

"Floorball is widely played in schools, among youth and adult recreation and corporate sports groups and it has become the alternative team sport for both men and women in a number of countries," it added.

Last month's SEAGF Council meeting confirmed that a total of 33 sports will be contested at this year's SEA Games, which would be hosted in the cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw.

Among other demonstration sports to be included at this year's Games are body building, traditional boat race, chess, pencak silat, vovinam, petanque, muay thai and shorinji kempo.

The compulsory sports will will be held are athletics (track and field, walk and marathon) and aquatics (swimming and diving).

The second category of sports - those that are contested at the Olympics and Asian Games are made up of archery, badminton, billiards and snooker, boxing, basketball, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, football, futsal, golf, hockey, judo, karatedo, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, sailing, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.

A total of 460 gold, 460 silver and 637 bronze medals are up for the grabs in the biennial meet.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Philippines Over Myanmar in the 27th SEA Games

Philippines can still maintain its position over Myanmar in the medal tally for the coming 27th SEA Games to be held this coming December. It will be like the 2009 SEA Games held in Laos where host Laos tried to move up in the medal tally but still can not beat Philippines despite some events favored the host.

The Philippines should not be intimidated with the sports calendared at the biennial meet in Myanmar. It should serve as a challenge for the Philippines and not to take it as a disadvantage for their athletes. They should not bite the bait of Myanmar in this case.

There were rumored news that the Philippines will just send a what they called "token delegation". If they will just send a token delegation, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission are less to blame if the token delegation performs poor in the SEA Games. A token delegation is a blameless act for the officials. It's like saying "Less talk less mistakes". It is good for the officials but the impact for the athletes is severe.

How can Filipino athletes beat other Asian athletes if they can not beat its neighboring Southeast Asian athletes? It should start first in Southeast Asian Games. SEA Games is a test for athletes for higher level sports event.  How can they assess athletes performance if you will jump directly in a higher level of competition like Asiad or Olympics? Before moving Level 2 there is Level 1 to complete. If you failed at Level one, you have to try again until you succeed then proceed to higher Level 2. Great things start from small beginnings.  

Philippine Advantages over Myanmar

For instance, basketball is one proof. Philippine basketball men's team dominated all SEA Games editions. And now, the emergence of their women's team in this regional event has threatened powerhouse Thailand last 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.

Boxing is another sports to boost Philippine campaign in Myanmar. Obviously, it's between the Philippines and Thailand for this sport. But Thailand is seeing as second best behind the Philippines. Philippines boxing program has seen great performances in international competitions for both men and women divisions. They can barely sweep all entered categories like what they did in Taipei Boxing competitions and the recently concluded Kuala Lumpur City Day Boxing Tournament. Aside from that, they recently won medals at the AIBA Junior/Youth boxing championships. That is one reason why Philippines is chosen to host the ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships this coming March. While Myanmar in boxing has chances in some sorts. So let's see what boxing judges have to say this December. (Boxing becomes controversial if host country which is not known to be very good in boxing reached more boxers in the finals and win.)

Another sport that will bring more gold medals for Philippines is Taekwondo. This is another battle between the Philippines and Thailand with Vietnam. In sparring competition, these three countries dominate not only in Southeast Asia but in a bigger map. While for poomsae, its between Vietnam and the Philippines. Myanmar on the other hand will most likely to win gold in poomsae because it is a scoring events. (Eyes will be in this event so watch out for this). But Philippines can win more gold medals better than the last SEA Games.

Athletics that shown a poor performance at the 2011 SEA Games delivered only two gold medals in long jump and long distance running. Eventually, the third gold was given after the gold medal was scrapped from Malaysian team in 4x400m relay in a controversial doping test. All in all there were three gold medals from the last SEA Games and Philippine should defend these events and must rake more gold medals in other events in athletics. Burmese athletic team has nothing to defend and honestly their chances are in the women's events. Myanmar may snatch more medals against Philippines but will not overtake its gold medal harvest in athletics. (Unless Philippines became totally unlucky)

Billiards and snookers, as we all know, is a sport being loved by Filipinos. This is a sure medal source for Philippines. The pool events which has 4 events in this coming SEA Games must be grabbed by Filipino cue artists. There is 9-ball (single) and 10-ball (single) events for men and women's division. Other events that Philippines can snatch gold medals are from billiards, snookers and carom events. A total of 12 events are at stake for this sport.

Those above sports are some of the sports where the Philippines can surely dig gold medals. But wait there's more. There are still more sports that can add more gold medals for Philippines. These are chess, golf and swimming.

Myanmar's capacity to win gold in swimming is a miracle while Philippines, despite the poor performance in the 2011 SEA Games has good chance winning gold medals. Swimming is one of the priority sports of Philippines.

Other sports which can bring gold for the Philippines are those in combat sports. These are wushu, wrestling, muay and judo. Karatedo is another potential source of gold medals. Over the year, Philippines has seen potential athletes for this sports. Philippines will surprise everyone in SEA Games in this sport.

There is nothing to fear. Unless Philippines will just send a very lean delegation. And that's what you call fear.

Myanmar's Advantage over Philippines

Bodybuilding which has 5 weight categories for this coming SEA Games is a strength of Myanmar. Probably no question if they sweep all these categories. It can happen. (Plus 5 gold medals for Myanmar) Sweeping all events in one sport is nothing new. Indonesia was very successful with that in "Roller Sport" last SEA Games held in their own yard. They won all 12 gold medals.

Chinlone, a very controversial sport added to the list of SEA Games sports has 8 (initial) events. This is a traditional and familiar sport in Myanmar and not evenly known or heard by some of its neighboring countries. Since Myanmar has the right which sports to include, they added Chinlone as a source of medals. They can sweep all Chinlone events. (Plus 8 gold medals for Myanmar)

Archery is another strength of Myanmar. After a successful campaign at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia, Burmese archers are ready to target the gold medals this SEA Games. They've also won overall at the recently concluded 5th Southeast Asian Archery Championships 2013.

Myanmar has more advantage in "traditional boat race" over the Philippines. But it does not mean that Philippines will not do well in this sport. Philippines is a world champion for this sport. Another Myanmar's rival is Indonesia. They won several gold medals at the last Asian Games. So this sport will be the most exciting sport in the SEA Games seeing three of the most bemedalled teams in Southeast Asia - Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. Surely, they will battle head-to-head.

What other sports Myanmar can excel?

Those sports which are scored by the judges will be another source of gold medals for Myanmar. These will come in karate (kata) , taekwondo (poomsae), wushu, kempo, pencak silat, vovinam and judo. All eyes will be on these sports to make sure that there will be no cheating. Boxing is also a hot spot for cheating too.

To avoid further cheating, there MUST be a very good media coverage aside from a fair judgement for the 27th SEA Games. And this is expected from the host.

Another advantage for Myanmar is the absence of tennis. Yes. You read it right. Tennis which is an Olympic sports will not be played this SEA Games in Myanmar. Myanmar can build big stadiums for SEA Games but can not afford to have tennis courts. Funny but the truth is they don't have good players for this. In this case, Myanmar disregard to include it. 

These are just some expected events and we can not predict what will happen especially the results of the SEA Games. Anything can happen during the games. Some athletes will be lucky enough and some will not. Myanmar may or may not outdistance Philippines in the medal tally. What is important is to respect each other. Not only for the two countries but for all SEA nations. The is the spirit of the game. Respect is what matters most.