Singapore drops key sports from SEA Games
VietNamNet Bridge – Singapore, host of the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, have dropped women's football from the competition, which is scheduled for June next year.
Hopes dashed: Vietnamese women footballers will not have the chance to improve upon their SEA Games silver medal performance next year. — Photo baobaclieu.vn
The Singapore National Olympic Council released a list of 30 sports that would definitely be played at the biennial sport festival of the region in a meeting of the Southeast Asian Games Federation on February 24.
According to the Viet Nam Olympic Committee, a number of sports considered to be the country's "gold mines" have been eliminated. Among them is women's football, which has shocked many of the participating countries.
"The organisers have not arrived at a final decision on the selected sports. The removal of women's football was part of the host's original plan, but they have received strong objections from other countries," said Tran Duc Phan, head of the Elite Sports Department of the National Sports Administration.
"At the meeting, the representatives asked for changes. They wanted women's football and some other sports to be included on the list," stated Phan, adding that on April 28, the official list will be announced.
Women's football has not developed in Singapore. Their national team has not been set up for years, and they did not participate in recent editions of the SEA Games.
Since the sport was restored to the SEA Games in 1995, Thailand and Viet Nam have set the stage for their dominance with four victories each.
The sport was also not hosted in 2011 in Indonesia, in 1999 in Brunei and in the period from 1987-93. In the 27th Games last year in Myanmar, Thailand defeated defending champions Viet Nam 2-1 to take the trophy.
The Federation's April meeting will be the last chance for participating countries to negotiate with the host to add their favourite sports to the list.
Some Olympic sports, such as wrestling and weightlifting, have also been struck from the list for Singapore's edition of the SEA Games.
Other popular games such as karate, chess and futsal (indoor football) are also not among Singapore's interests.
The 28th Games will be held on June 5-16, instead of being held in December, as usual.