Philippines, hosts of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, have added six events in the competition list after coming under heavy pressure from participating countries and the Asian Athletics Association (AAA).
|Walker Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc returns to the 30th SEA Games targeting to win her fourth title after four years rest. — Photo tintucvietnam.vn|
The Philippines Olympics Committee announced last December they would organise 56 sports with 523 events in the Games which will be held later this year.
Although it would be the record number of sports, other countries, including Vietnam, complained after a number of disciplines were omitted.
In track-and-field, they wanted to hold mixed 4x100m and mixed relay 4x400m for the first time but refused 10 events including women’s high jump and long jump which Vietnamese are the champions.
After meetings, organisers did a U-turn and brought the events back.
AAA did not approve the submitted entries of the Philippines and asked them to hold all athletic regular events including men’s and women’s 5,000m, 10,000m and walk otherwise the continental governing body would not accept athletics at the November-December Games.
For the second time the Philippines filled up their competition list but women’s marathon and heptathlon were axed.
Vietnam are reigning champions of the men’s 5,000m and women’s 10,000m and silver medalists in the men’s and women’s 10,000m, and women’s walk.
Walkers Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuc and Nguyen Thanh Ngung expressed their disappointment after their events were cut. Now they are back as title favourites as both of them recently reached remarkable results that made them the No 1 in ASEAN.
The sister and brother duo, who are both number one in ASEAN, took part in the Asian championship in Japan and both finished at seventh with a time of 1:30.15 and 1:41.50, the best among Southeast Asian walkers.
Phuc won the SEA Games title in 2015 before taking time off for family reasons.
Vietnam hope to repeat their success in Manila two years ago when they scooped a record 17 gold medals.
The 30th Games will be held from November 30-December 11 with around 10,000 competitors.
Two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam won 58 golds and finished third behind the hosts (145 golds) and Thailand (72 golds).