MANILA -- Obstacle course race will debut in the Southeast Asian Games as a regular sport.
This was announced by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas when he graced the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Hotel Amelie Manila in Malate on Tuesday.
"Laos has agreed so obstacle course race is back in the SEA Games," said Vargas, who was accompanied by POC chairman, Cong. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, and Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary general Ed Picson.
Last week, Philippines SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) executive director Tom Carrasco announced that obstacle course race was dropped from the list of regular sports featured in the 30th SEA Games with only three countries namely Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines competing.
To become a regular sport in the SEA Games, it should have entries from at least four countries.
Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF) president Atty. Alberto Agra welcomed the reinclusion of the sport in the SEA Games, which the Philippines will be hosting for the fourth time.
"The entry of Laos will only be official when it submits the entry form by number. We are waiting for that, hopefully, this week," said Agra, who also serves as general counsel of the POC.
Six gold medals are stake in the obstacle course race. The events are individual 100-meter and 5-km races (men and women) and mixed team 400-meter race (team assist and relay).
The POSF national pool is composed of Jeffrey Reginio, Manolito Divina, Nathaniel Sanchez, Vernier John Miranda, Sarah Jane Lim, Chrystalle Joan Omaga, Kaizen dela Cerna, Juvelle Pua, Alex Gabriel Rosario, Mervin Rencel Santiago, Racky Madorable, Kyle Redentor Antolin, Glorien Merisco, Anne Kathleen Santos, Rochelle Suarez, Klymille Keilah Rodriguez, Jose Mari de Castro Jr., Mark Julius Rodelas, Ali Zandra Chongbian, and Milky Mae Tejares.
The national athletes are regularly training at the Pretty Huge Obstacles (PHO), a world-class obstacle course training facility at SM Aura Premier Civic Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Meanwhile, Vargas said the SEA Games Federation will have its last meeting on April 22. The broadcasting rights of the Games is among the topics to be discussed.
Vargas also mentioned the launching of the SEA Games volunteers’ program on Friday (April 12) in Taguig City.
The 30th SEA Games will be the biggest in the tournament's history for having 56 sports and 529 events.
Team Philippines has the most number of athletes at 1,895 followed by Singapore (1,581), Indonesia (1,718), and Thailand (1,462).
A total of 7,806 athletes and 3,444 coaches are taking part in the 30th SEA Games, which will be held from November 30 to December 11 across venues in Clark (Pampanga), Subic (Olongapo), Tagaytay (Cavite), and Metro Manila.
The 11 participating countries in the SEA Games are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Timor Leste, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. (PNA)