SEA Games: Some concern over Typhoon Kammuri but it's largely business as usual for Team Singapore

Dark clouds loom in the distance as seen from a hotel in Manila on Nov 29, 2019.
Dark clouds loom in the distance as seen from a hotel in Manila on Nov 29, 2019.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

MANILA - Singapore's athletes and officials are unfazed by the arrival of Typhoon Kammuri in the Philippines, where the 30th SEA Games is taking place from Saturday (Nov 30) to Dec 11.

The typhoon could hit the country as early as Saturday evening and is packing maximum winds of 139kmh and gusts of up to 160kmh, according to the latest bulletin from the US Navy and Air Force's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

But athletes and officials whom The Straits Times spoke to feel they are sufficiently prepared and are not concerned about the impact of the typhoon on the competition though road cycling team manager Adrian Ng hopes it will not rain throughout the Dec 4-10 competition in Tagaytay.

He added: "In any case, the conditions will be the same for every team. Equipment-wise, we will need to see if we need to make any changes to the model of our tyres. Tyre pressure may also be adjusted, as typically lower pressure will help with more traction in wet conditions.

"Regardless, our morale is still high and we are looking forward to the competition.

Golf team manager Ong Kian Hui agreed, saying: "We have no real concerns as our golfers have experience playing in different conditions. If the organisers deem it suitable for play to go on, and all other teams are good to go, then we will follow. As of now, we have not heard of any changes from the organisers."

Both the golf and cycling teams leave for the Philippines on Monday, with golf taking place at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac City.

The football team have been in Manila for almost a week, and manager Samuel Tan said the weather was good during training on Friday morning (Nov 29).

He said: "If the typhoon does affect us, we are prepared to do exercises and do whatever preparations we can indoors.

 
 
 
 

"As for the matches, we have not heard anything so far, but will comply with the organising committee's decisions where necessary."

Modern pentathlete Shermaine Tung, who leaves on Saturday, rated her concern as a three out of 10.

"We do have training on Sunday and official route training on Monday and Tuesday, so it's a concern if I won't be able to try out the route," she explained. "I'm hoping that my races from Wednesday to Saturday will not be pushed back or delayed."

For the skateboarders who leave on Sunday, wet weather could not only affect their preparations for the competition but also present a threat to safety.

Team manager Muhammad Rezal Ramli noted that it could be dangerous for skateboarders to compete on slippery surfaces, saying: "We can't skate on slick conditions. Skaters could easily slip and fall."

Rain could also prevent them from training and familiarising themselves with the course on Monday, which is crucial for the skateboarders.

He added: "The park is new and for the street segment, the skatepark is made of wood, which means it is not something our skaterboarders are used to, so it would be an important time for the players to get used to the park and course.

"It's not just material of the ground but also the whole course - how it's designed, how steep it is, how high the rails are, the shape of the bowl, shape of the skatepark, so it's also important for the park skaters."

Chef de mission Juliana Seow noted that officials are monitoring the situation, with contingency plans to get underway in the event of severe weather conditions.

"We have briefed the teams who are already in the Philippines on the safety precautions to take, and are working with the organisers on the necessary safety measures to take. We are also on standby to reschedule the flights of athletes and officials when necessary," she added.

"Our contingent's safety is the top priority while we minimise inconvenience for athletes who are preparing for their competitions during this period."