SEA Games football to be under-22 affair
The South-east Asia (SEA) Games football competition next year in Kuala Lumpur will be an Under-22 competition.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) secretary general Low Beng Choo confirmed the change with The New Paper on Wednesday (Feb 17) night, following the council's technical meeting.
The SEA Games football competition had been an U-23 affair since 2001, following the conversion of the Olympic football tournament to the same age-limit in 1996.
The New Paper first reported on the possible lowering of the age-limit in 2014, with regional football body Asean Football Federation’s (AFF) general secretary Azzuddin Ahmad confirming with this newspaper in November 2015 that the federation had reached an in-principle agreement internally for the change.
Following the confirmation of the proposal internally, the AFF’s member associations had to write to their respective National Olympic Committees to ratify the change with the SEA Games Federation, which oversees the organisation of the biennial SEA Games.
The Garena Young Lions, the S.League side which is pre-dominantly made up of national Under-21 players, is expected to form the bulk of Singapore’s SEA Games squad in 2017.
Also, at the meeting yesterday, OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar confirmed that five sports have been provisionally dropped from the list of 39 sports that could feature at the Games next year.
Four of them — canoeing, fencing, judo and triathlon — featured in the 2015 Games, which Singapore hosted, while bodybuilding — which was also omitted — did not feature last year.
Canoeing and fencing contributed 10 golds to Singapore’s historic 84-gold haul at home in 2015.
Tunku Imran said the main objective of Malaysia’s hosting of the SEA Games is “to become overall champions”.
“We have dropped bodybuilding, canoeing, fencing, judo and triathlon because these sports do not have the competitiveness required to give a strong challenge at the Games,”
However, he added the Malaysian national sports associations, as well as the various National Olympic Committees, would be able to appeal the decision, with the final list to be out in mid-July.
Malaysia will host the SEA Games from Aug 19 to 31 in 2017.
IN: athletics, aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, cricket, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, ice hockey, ice skating, karate, lawn bowls, netball, silat, petanque, rugby sevens, sailing, sepak takraw (includes chinlone), shooting, cue sports, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, bowling, volleyball, water ski, weightlifting and wushu.
OUT: bodybuilding, canoeing, fencing, judo, triathlon