By JEROME LAGUNZAD
Arnis, the country’s national sport, plus wrestling/kurash and dancesport will make their return to the Southeast Asian Games when the country hosts the biennial regional sporting meet from Nov. 30 to Dec. 10 next year.
The three sports disciplines, which were left out in last year’s edition held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were part of the initial list of 30 preferred sports which the host selected and, in the process, approved by the SEAG Federation Council during its two-day meeting here in Manila.
“It was a productive two-day meeting for us,” said Philippine Olympic Committee chairman and SEA Games Federation president Ricky Vargas yesterday during the press briefing held at the Shangri-La Plaza-The Fort in Bonifacio Global City.
Also included in the list are basketball and volleyball, arguably the top two popular sports in the country, as well as compulsory sports – athletics and aquatics.
Also on tap are archery, badminton, baseball/softball, billiards, bowling (tenpin), boxing, cycling, equestrian/polo, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, judo/jiujitsu, karatedo, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, squash, taekwondo, triathlon, weightlifting, wushu and muay thai.
However, Vargas, 66, admitted that his counterparts from other 10 countries in the region could still lobby additional sports which they want to be reconsidered by submitting formal requests on or before June 13.
The final list of the sports that will be featured in the country’s fourth hosting of the regional sporting conclave, which will have Clark Green City in Capas, Tarlac as the main hub, will be announced in the second SEAG Federation Council Meeting in November.
“The plans are set and the plans are there. We just have to move forward and execute well,” added Vargas.