TWO of the country’s top female athletes, multi-titled boxer Josie Gabuco and weightlifter and Olympic silver medallist Hidilyn Diaz, won’t see action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
This is because Malaysian organizers have excluded many women’s events in the coming biennial meet set Aug. 19 to 31.
Amateur Boxing Alliances of the Philippines Executive Director Ed Picson expressed his disappointment on this development and so did Philippine Weightlifting Association vice president Bong Atilano.
“We are very disappointed with this decision by the Malaysian organizers na tanggalin ang women’s boxing in the SEA Games calendar. We were hoping that they would reconsider,” said Picson.
The 28-year-old Gabuco has won gold medals in the last four editions of the SEA Games, with the first two in the pinweight class, and the last two in the light-flyweight category.
On the other hand, the 25-year-old Diaz will miss the games for the second straight time after winning the 58-kg silver in the 2013 edition in Myanmar.
Men’s and women’s weightlifting were not included in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games. But, in the 2017 edition, it will make a comeback in the men’s division, with six events on tap.
Atilano said that with Diaz out of contention in the games, Olympian Nestor Colonia is the only one left whom they can expect to win a gold in the 56 kg side.
“Nestor Colonia has a good chance. But now, we are looking at a younger set of athletes to represent the country. Our athletes are getting old,” said Atilano.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines won’t be able to send a younger set of cyclists to the Games after organizers reportedly imposed an age limit of 19 years old and above.
Organizers have calendared six weight categories in boxing, namely 49 kgs, 52kgs, 56 kgs, the 64 kgs, the 75 kgs and the 81 kgs.
In weightlifting, the listed categories are 56kgs, 62kgs, 69 kgs, 77kgs and +77 kgs.
Last July, the SEA Games Federation Council gave its final approval and endorsed the Local Organizing Committee’s proposal of having a total of 38 sports and 405 events to be contested for the biennial Games.
The Council, in its meeting chaired by President Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar, unanimously approved the proposal.
Only two events were added to the previous list of 403 events, with men’s and women’s sepak takraw making up the final number of events to 405.
The final list featured 208 events for men’s competition, 177 for women and 20 for mixed events.
Among the sports which were missing in the last Games in Singapore but will make its appearance in Kuala Lumpur 2017 are cricket, track cycling, futsal, ice hockey, ice skating, karate lawn bowl, muay and men’s weightlifting.
Among the sports that were featured in Singapore but were omitted from the Kuala Lumpur list are canoeing, floorball, rowing, softball and traditional boat race.
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