Organizers of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam have added three traditional sports events in their calender of events and will be opening their doors for more.
Sports officials met during the Christmas holidays and included shuttlecock kicking, diving and vovinam to the list of events in the biennial meet.
In the meeting, deputy director of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training Tran Duc Phan discussed the list of events that they can add to the 2021 games.
“Vietnam will focus on organizing sports that are in the Olympic system. There will be full disciplines in running and swimming. We will have a level playing ground. There is no question of adding more sports in group 3 to get more medals,” said Phan in a statement released online.
Group 3 events involve traditional sports that are popular in the region, along with new events as well.
Vovinam is a martial arts discipline that is part of the Vietnamese culture.
It is one of the disciplines that are being considered aside from petanque, chess, dancesport, pencak silat, muay thai, bodybuilding and e-sports.
Vietnam is also keen on having shuttlecock kicking, after having won two gold medals at the 2019 world championships when it was held last August in France.
Vietnamese officials earlier sought the inclusion of vovinam as among the sports to be played in the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines when it hosted it early December.
But the Philippines did not add it.
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee have instead included arnis, its national martial art, and obstacle racing and won 14 and six gold medals in them.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino is expected to meet with Vietnam Olympic Committee president Prof Nguyen Danh Thai next month when they start meeting for the games in Hanoi.
“They submitted 35 events. And we will appeal,” said Tolentino, who added that he is pushing for the inclusion of arnis, kickboxing and obstacle course racing.