POC chief Bambol Tolentino to push for more sports in 2021 SEA Games

Published July 9, 2020, 1:19 PM

by Nick Giongco

Host Vietnam wants events played in the Olympics and Asiad
bambol tolentino
Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino (PSA Images)

Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino will not back down from his early plan of lobbying for the inclusion of some sports and events when Vietnam hosts the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

“I am not turning my back on that,” said Tolentino, regarded as the one of the most influential figures in the country’s rousing success in the 2019 SEAG. “This was a vow that I made.”

The Philippines SEAG featured a record-breaking 56 sports that offered 530 gold medals and Tolentino insists he will move heaven and earth for the inclusion of some select sports and events where Filipinos have genuine chances of winning.

Just a few hours before an online meeting involving the 11-member countries on Thursday, Tolentino said Vietnam is not keen on matching the Philippines’ total number of sports and events.

“Definitely, the number is lower compared to ours,” said Tolentino.

In winning the 2019 SEAG crown, the Philippines leaned on strong performances in such sports as arnis and dancesport en route to an overall haul of 149 gold medals.

Vietnam came in second with 98 and Thailand, the region’s undisputed champion with the most number of overall titles with 13 stretching back to the late 1950s, wound up with 92 for third spot.

While the initial list will provide a sneak peek into what lies ahead in 2021, member countries can still request for certain sports and events to be included in the official roster as it is a practice in observance of goodwill among members of the ASEAN.

Still, Vietnam is adamant in playing sports listed in the Olympic Games and Asian Games.

Thirty-six sports have been penciled, two-thirds of which classified under Olympic and Asian Games sports.

The capital Hanoi and nearby provinces will help in the staging chores beginning in late-November until the first week of December.