The water polo community in the Southeast Asian region will appeal for the inclusion of the aquatic event in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games next year in Vietnam.
The host’s organizing committee has included 40 sports on its initial list of disciplines, and water polo, which has been in the SEA Games since its inclusion in 1965, was left off.
However, national team coach Dale Evangelista said this is not the first time it happened.
“Nangayari na yan before nung naglabas ang Laos ng sports events in SEA Games back in 2009, walang water polo. Pero ang water polo community sa Southeast Asia nag-appeal kaya nagkaron eventually,” said Evangelista.
“Kaya ngayon, same lang din yan, ia-apela ng community. Of course it’s a process, hindi naman basta basta yan, pero kasi para payagan ang isang sport, four countries ang kailangang kasali including the host.”
In the last SEA Games here, five countries participated in the event as Indonesia captured the gold medal for the first time while the Philippines settled with silver and Singapore, which has bagged the event’s top prize since 1965, finished with a bronze medal.
The other nations in the event were Thailand and Malaysia.
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Vietnam, Evangelista said, has no water polo team although they already received reports that the host is forming a squad for the SEA Games. If it doesn’t do so, a water polo event can still be played even without the host country.
“Noong nag-host ng SEA Games ang Laos wala silang team sa water polo event, so ibig lang sabihin pwede maski hindi mag-participate ang host. Pero ang balita nga namin is magbubuo sila ng team,” said Evangelista.
“Ang water polo event kasi malalakas ang team na nandiyan. Of course Indonesia nag-gold last year, then tayo at ang longtime champion Singapore, tapos paangat na uli ang Malaysia at Thailand. Itong lima, lumalabas yan sa Asia and even sa world, kaya I don’t see na walang water polo sa 2021 SEA Games.”