There were only 30 sports included in the initial list for next year's SEA Games in the Philippines, with Singapore's medal prospects possibly affected by the exclusion of key sports such as table tennis, silat and netball.
But, following a SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) meeting in Manila yesterday, a record 56 sports (see box) have been confirmed for the biennial Games from Nov 30 to Dec 10 next year.
Chris Chan, the secretary-general of the Singapore National Olympic Council, hailed the generosity of the Philippines.
"The hosts have been very magnanimous, and have included all the sports that we have appealed for to be at next year's Games," said Chan, who attended the meeting yesterday.
"Including some of these sports makes no sense to them because they have very little chance of winning a medal, but they have put them on the list anyway, and we are grateful.
"Whether it is 51 or 56, no one has done anything like this before, it will be the biggest-ever SEA Games, in terms of the number of sports."
The previous biggest SEA Games featuring 44 sports were hosted by Indonesia in 2011, while the Kuala Lumpur Games last year had 38 sports.
LIST OF SPORTS FOR 2019 SEA GAMES
(COMPULSORY SPORTS): Athletics, aquatics
(OLYMPIC AND ASIAN GAMES SPORTS):
Archery, badminton, baseball/softball, basketball, billiard sports, bowling, boxing, canoeing / traditional boat race, chess, cycling, dancesport, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, indoor hockey, ice hockey, ice skating, judo, karate, modern pentathlon, muay thai, pencak silat, polo, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing/windsurfing, sepak takraw, skateboarding, shooting, soft tennis, squash, surfing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu
Arnis, e-sports, floorball, jujitsu, kickboxing, kurash, lawn bowling/petanque, netball, obstacle course, sambo/vovinam, underwater hockey, wakeboarding
There is a possibility that only 51 sports will eventually feature because five sports - kurash, e-sports, surfing, skateboarding and jujitsu - have until Dec 7 to submit their application forms, complete with endorsement either from their international federations or Asian bodies.
Chan explained that a key reason for this is to ensure that these sports are compliant with international anti-doping standards.
The Philippines will announce the final list of events for the 56 sports on Dec 15.
Several national sports associations in Singapore welcomed the news yesterday.
"It's massive for us. Being in the SEA Games makes a huge difference for the sport, in terms of funding, publicity and fan support,"said Netball Singapore CEO Cyrus Medora.
"Our target has to be gold, and the girls are going to work very hard to get that gold medal back. I'm sure the Malaysians will say the same."
The Republic's netballers won gold at the 2015 Singapore Games, but Malaysia wrested the title back last year, beating Singapore in the final.
Singapore Floorball Association president Kenneth Ho was equally delighted that the sport will make a return to the SEA Games.
Including some of these sports makes no sense to them because they have very little chance of winning a medal, but they have put them on the list anyway, and we are grateful... It will be the biggest-ever SEA Games, in terms of the number of sports.
CHRIS CHAN, SNOC secretary-general, thanks 2019 SEA Games host the Philippines for its magnanimity.
"I am thrilled and excited that floorball will be included at the 2019 SEA Games. The inclusion is a great boost in the development of the sport in the region," said Ho, who revealed that Singapore will continue to play a key role in raising the standard of the sport through conducting coaching and refereeing courses for officials in the region.
"At the moment, our target must be to retain the gold medals for both the men and women."
The 30th edition of the SEA Games will be held in Clark Green City, Subic and Metro Manila in the Philippines.
Singapore recorded their best away performance at the SEA Games with 58 gold medals in Kuala Lumpur last year. The Republic finished fourth in the overall standings, behind Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Philippines, who finished sixth in KL, last hosted the Games in 2005 and topped the medal tally with 112 gold, 85 silver and 93 bronze medals.