In a certain disappointing front put up by the representatives of the SEA Games countries present during the meeting held in the first week of Oct 2018 at SEA Games headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, Cricket is not being included in the final list of 56 sports disciplines provisionally approved.
Final approval of all sports disciplines will be made during the next SEA Games Federation Executive Council meeting on Nov 22nd – 24th in Manila, as reported by Business Insight Malaya.
POC (Philippines Olympic Committee) president Ricky Vargas told reporters The mandatory Olympic sports of athletics and aquatics (swimming) are in “Category 1” of the Games.
In “Category 2” are the disciplines of Archery, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Billiards, Snooker, Bowling, Boxing, Chess, Cycling, Dance Sport, Equestrian/Polo, Indoor Hockey, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Judo, Karatedo, Modern Pentathlon, Muay, Pencak Silat, Rowing, Rugby Sevens, Sailing/Windsurfing, Sepak Takraw, Shooting, Softball, Soft Tennis, Squash, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Lawn Tennis, Traditional boat race or Dragon boat, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Wushu, Petanque and Surfing.
The “Category 3” sports are Arnis, E-Sports, Jiujitsu, Kick-boxing, Kurash, Lawn bowls, Obstacle course, Floorball, Sambo, Skateboarding, Underwater Hockey and Vovinam.
Cricket was successfully held across both Men’s and Women’s categories in Malaysia in 2017 SEA Games. Malaysia, who bagged Gold in the men’s 50-overs format, Silver in the Men’s T20 category and Bronze in Women’s T20 category, made an appeal through Olympic Association of Malaysia (OAM), to include Cricket in the final list of disciplines for the Games. However, that doesn’t seem to have worked in their favour.
Singapore and Indonesia Cricket Boards too voiced their displeasure of Cricket not being included when the original list of 30 disciplines were announced by the South East Asian Games Council. Singapore claimed the Gold in the Men’s T20 and Silver in the 50-overs format, while Thailand won the Gold in the Women’s T20 and a Silver. Indonesia, too, bagged a Silver and Bronze from the 2017 SEA Games.
It’s a bitter disappointment since both Men’s and Women’s categories were eligible for #T20I status games in the 2019 SEA Games. And with Philippines hosting the ICC World T20 East Asia-Pacific Group “B” qualifiers shortly, it would have provided them a great opportunity to showcase their hosting capabilities along with the growth of the sport in the region, worldwide on a global platform.