Eligibility rules next on SEA Games Federation’s agenda
Cambodia thrived at the recent 32nd Southeast Asian Games beefed up with an assortment of naturalized athletes in a variety of sports.
Limiting these foreign connections to a justifiable quantity in the succeeding editions of the SEA Games will be a concern for the Southeast Asian Games Federation.
“It will be on the agenda of the SEA Games Federation. We will pursue their qualifications for the next SEA Games,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’” Tolentino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.
Host Cambodia utilized a diverse collection of “imported” players in men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, boxing and even in a non-contact sport such as billiards.
The result? The Cambodians ended up fourth overall with 81 gold, 74 silver and 127 bronze medals right on their turf, just a notch above the fifth overall Philippines, which closed out the 11-nation meet with 58 golds, 85 silvers and 117 bronzes.
“We didn’t bring it (rules on foreign athletes) up the last time, because I don’t want to always be seen as a villain,” said Tolentino during the weekly forum held at the Philippine Sports Commission building at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
“Opposing the host country all the time isn’t a good idea, since we are also lobbying for other sports that we want to be included,” added the Tagaytay City mayor and three-time Cavite representative.
According to Tolentino, the SEAG Federation will discuss the number of allowable naturalized athletes in the 2025 Thailand Games, the required residency and install other necessary eligibility measures as they see fit.
Gilas Pilipinas, the national men’s basketball team, dropped its elimination-round match against the Cambodians before exacting revenge in the finals.
Cambodia brought in Americans Brandon Peterson, Sayeed Pridgett, Darius Henderson, Dwayne Morgan and Darrin Dorsey for its silver-performing men’s team.
Boxers Anvar Nasredinov and Adbulla Rajapov from Uzbekistan also carried the Cambodian colors as well as wrestler Mo Sari from Iran and cue artist Woo Donghoon of Korea.
Billiards legend Efren “Bata” Reyes fell prey to Donghoon in the round-of-16 of the men’s three-cushion carom singles.
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