Wednesday January 30, 2013
Three sports back in the Games but no place for gymnastics and tennis
PETALING JAYA: Hosts Myanmar have decided to reinstate three sports - badminton, table tennis and hockey – at the SEA Games from Dec 11-22. But gymnastics and tennis will not feature at the Games.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said badminton, table tennis, tennis, hockey and gymnastics were in the original 31 sports approved for the Games in July last year.
However, all five were recommended to be dropped by the Myanmar Organising Committee (MOC) to be replaced by petanque, kempo (a form of martial art) and vovinam (Vietnamese martial art).
“Badminton, table tennis and hockey managed to get back in, but not tennis and gymnastics.
“This means 33 sports will be contested. I think it’s final although some national Olympic councils (NOCs) are still lobbying for tennis and gymnastics be reinstated.
“The MOC have included kempo and vovinam,” said Kok Chi after attending a meeting with the MOC in Myanmar.
Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) secretary N. Shanmugarajah was shocked to learn that the sport was booted out of the Games.
“Very disappointing ...” said Shanmugarajah.
“I think the OCM need to put their foot down and make a stand to say that all Olympic sports must be held at SEA Games level.
“Gymnastics is an Olympic sport and we can’t even have it at the regional Games.
“It’s not about winning medals any more but giving the athletes a chance to compete on a big stage. These girls and boys have trained and toiled for so many years and now they just see their dreams disappear like that ...” said Shanmugarajah.
In the last SEA Games in Indonesia, Malaysia won two silvers in the women’s artistic competition through Nur Eli Ellina (balance beam) and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (uneven bars).
The 33 sports to be contested in Myanmar are aquatics (swimming, diving and waterpolo), athletics, archery, basketball, boxing, billiards and snooker, badminton, bodybuilding, canoeing, chess, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, hockey, judo, karate, kempo, muay thai, pencak silat, petanque, rowing, sepaktakraw, sailing, shooting, taekwondo, table tennis, traditional boat race, volleyball, vovinam, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.