POC bats for fairness in SEA Games
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Olympic Committee is planning to host a meeting among members of the SEA Games Federation and try to start a healthy discussion regarding officiating.

“We’re planning to invite them here so we can take up some of these matters,” said POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.

The meeting could take place in the first quarter of the year leading up to the 28th staging of the biennial event in Singapore from June 5 to 16.

Cojuangco had planned hosting the meeting since after the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games when he raised serious questions on the way the event was run.

The POC chief questioned the calendar of events wherein a number of Olympic sports like gymnastics, tennis and beach volleyball were scratched in favor of indigenous sports hardly played by other countries.

Over 40 gold medals were offered in sports like vovinam, kempo and chinlone, sports which Cojuangco said were even hard to pronounce.

The officiating, especially in subjective sports like boxing, taekwondo, karate, judo or wushu, will also be taken up during the meeting if it ever takes place.

“Garapal na ang mga decisions (It’s glaring) and it’s unfair and it’s not a good example to our young athletes,” said Cojuangco.

“All we want is to level the playing field.” he added.

He said the SEA Games Federation should come up with a list of mandatory sports, particularly those being played in the Olympics.

Cojuancgo also wants to suggest that host countries be allowed to include as many medals in traditional and indigenous sports but that they should not count in the medal standings.

“We can create a separate medal standings for this if the goal is just try to promote traditional and indigenous sports among the other countries,” he said.

Cojuangco said traditional sports must not be used by host countries to boost their chances in the overall standings.

In the 2005 Manila SEA Games, the POC staked just a handful medals in arnis, a traditional martial arts, and Filipino athletes did not even win them all.

“We will push through with this meeting and hopefully something good will come out,” said Cojuangco.

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