UNLESS host Vietnam changes its mind and agrees to increase the number of sports, the Philippines stands to lose at least 58 gold medals in next year' 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.
That's because the Filipinos won these 58 golds in sports which Vietnam now intends to remove as part of a reduced calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The three sports affected by the Vietnamese plan are the Filipino sport of arnis, which contributed 11 golds, and skateboarding and obstacle course, which delivered six gold medals each.
Also to be affected by the considerable decrease in the number of events next year are jiujitsu (5 golds), e-sports (3), sailing (3), soft tennis (3), triathlon (3), sambo (2), surfing (2), wakeboarding (2), windsurfing (2), modern pentathlon (2), baseball (1), duathlon (1), rugby (1), softball (1) and squash (1).
But all is not lost yet.
“I expect several more changes. The Philippines and other SEA countries will still try to work out some arrangements with host Vietnam,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) secretary-general Atty. Edwin Gastanes in last week’s TOPS “Usapang Sports on Air” via Zoom.
Based on official communication by Vietnam, a total of 36 sports and 450 events are listed in the SEA Games next year.
It is significantly fewer than the the record 56 sports and 530 events when the country hosted the biennial event last year.
The Filipinos captured the overall championship with a record hail of 149 gold medals.
“The POC will surely lobby for the inclusion of sporrt where the Filipinos have good chances of winning.
“I think arnis, skateboard and triathlon should be added,” said Gastanes.
Leading the sports in next year’s SEA Games are the mandatory sports of athletics and swimming.
Also in the shortened list are archery, badminton, basketball, billiards and snooker, boxing, canoe-kayak, chess, cycling, dancesport, fencing, football, futsal, golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, karate, muay, pencak silat, petanque, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.