Article by Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Five sports – bodybuilding, canoeing, fencing, judo and triathlon – have been dropped from the initial 39 listed for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) technical committee met on Wednesday and selected 34 sports – comprising 342 events – for the biennial Games, scheduled to be held from Aug 19-31.
The Singapore SEA Games in 2015 had 36 sports and 402 events.
OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar, who chaired the meeting, said that their main objective in hosting the SEA Games “is to become overall champions”.
“We have dropped bodybuilding, canoeing, fencing, judo and triathlon because these sports do not have the competitiveness required to give a strong challenge at the Games,” he said.
“Some of our athletes in these five sports are not even ranked compared to athletes from the other South-East Asia countries.
“But the five national associations, or any other sports, not in the list of 39 sports can appeal to OCM by the end of this month.
“We will also listen to appeals from the other South-East Asia countries before making the final decision.
“The final list of the sports and events will be confirmed during the SEA Games Federation meeting in Kuala Lumpur by July 13 or 14.”
Tunku Imran also explained that the number of events in athletics had been reduced from 46 to 38 because “we don’t have any participants in some of the events”.
For the KL Games, there will be 22 track events and 16 field events.
He, however, did not reveal the eight athletics events that will be dropped from the KL Games.
OCM’s move in cutting down the number of athletics events is not surprising given that Malaysia fared poorly at the Singapore Games last June – returning with just three golds out of the 46 on offer.
Tunku Imran said that the men’s football competition will be changed from an Under-23 event to Under-22.
He said that all the sports will be held here, except for track cycling (in Nilai) as well as equestrian and water ski (Putrajaya).