CHAROEN WATTANASIN, deputy chairman of the Olympic Committee of Thailand (OCT), has urged SEA Games hosts to stick to Summer Olympic disciplines instead of including their own favourite sports in the hope of winning more gold medals than any other participating country.
The former national badminton player said he was surprised to see events like ice hockey and ice skating in the 39 disciplines at the Games. This is the first time that two winter sports have featured at the regional sporting event, whose 29th edition takes place in Kuala Lumpur from August 19-30. “This issue needs to be discussed within the SEA Games Federation Council. There have been attempts by Thai SEAF Council members to make a clear rule that SEA Games should only have Summer Olympic disciplines,” said Charoen, who is a member of the SEAF Council.
“Otherwise, the host country may attempt to put their local sports in the SEA Games, which fails to meet the original Games objective of grooming athletes from the region to compete in the Asian and Olympic Games,” Charoen said.
The addition of non-Summer Olympic sports to the programme with an eye to boosting the host nation's medal haul has been an issue at the regional Games for many years.
Summer Olympic sports such as archery, wrestling, triathlon, judo, canoeing, fencing and, especially, women's weightlifting, in which Thailand is a powerhouse, are not featured in the upcoming Games.
Meanwhile, TV Pool confirmed yesterday that live coverage of the Games on NBT will start on August 14 with the men's soccer match between Thailand and Cambodia.
Channel 3, 7 and Modern 9 TV will also be covering the Games live in HD format