KUALA LUMPUR: The SEA Games is in danger of turning into a telematch, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi warned yesterday.
He said that hosts Indonesia’s move to include six recreational sports, and dropping several regular events like billiards and snooker and women’s football, would bring down the standard of the biennial Games.
He also said that although Indonesia had the right to pick the sports for the Games, which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang from Nov 11-25, “the hosts must also consider the sentimens of other participating nations”.
“Indonesia plan to stage 43 sports and 542 events in the biennial Games. They divided the sports into four categories – Olympics, Asian Games, SEA Games and new sports,” he said.
“The organising committee dropped billiards and snooker but included pool.
“Indonesia may not be good in that sport but other countries will be banking on it, and the other sports left out, for their gold hunt.”
Kok Chi said that if the SEA Games hosts continued to stage only their favourite events, the standard of the Games would drop and “become a telematch event” for Asean countries.
Indonesia have added six new sports – bridge, paragliding, roller sports, shorinji kempo, vovinam and wall climbing.
Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial arts (with and without weapons) while shorinji kempo is another form of Japanese martial arts.
Kok Chi said that among the sports severely affected were cycling (track), football, rhythmic gymnastics, petanque, sailing, shooting and table tennis.
Citing cycling, he said the standard programme of the past SEA Games comprised around 12 to 15 events, but Indonesia wanted to stage only seven, comprising three for men and four for women.
He said Indonesia also dropped the women’s football and cut down the number of events in shooting from 36 to just nine, while rhythmic gymnastics has only one event compared with five to six previously.
“I feel the SEA Games Federation (SGF) members, comprising 10 Asean countries, will be upset with Indonesia’s move. We’ll try to negotiate with the hosts during the coming SGF meeting in Bali on Feb 25,” he said.
Kok Chi said that as hosts, Indonesia should consult their respective sport associations and not just organise the Games for the sake of becoming overall champions.
Indonesia staged 43 sports and 490 events in Jakarta when they last hosted the Games in 1997. This time the capital and Palembang will play host from Nov 11-25. — Bernama