SEA Games: More events cancelled as Typhoon Kammuri hits the Philippines

Filipino and Singaporean surfing team members during the Surfing events of the Southeast Asian Games in San Juan, La Union province, Philippines on Dec 2, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CLARK - More events at the ongoing SEA Games in the Philippines have been disrupted following the overnight arrival of Typhoon Kammuri on Tuesday (Dec 3).

On Tuesday afternoon, Games organisers announced a slew of changes to the schedule for some sports, particularly those that take place outdoors.

In a Facebook announcement posted just after noon, it said sports such as sailing and windsurfing were postponed and would resume on Thursday while the start of others, such as modern pentathlon, were moved to Thursday, when Kammuri is expected to make its exit from the country.

On Monday, sports like windsurfing, beach volleyball and canoe-kayak racing were either suspended or postponed, while the triathlon mixed team relay was held two days earlier even as organisers were gearing up for the storm's arrival.

Shawn Chue, team manager of Singapore's underwater hockey team, told The Straits Times: "We were informed of the postponement early this morning by the competition manager once they determined that the typhoon would affect the competition and the decision was made to ensure the safety of all the athletes and spectators."

He added that the team had been briefed on the contingency plans two days earlier, before the start of the competition and even before Kammuri made landfall.

He said the matches have been compressed into the remaining two days of tournament.

He added: "The weather is stormy with strong winds and heavy rain.

"We are staying indoors within the hotel compound and will be doing mobilisation exercises plus gym workout for physical conditioning and to maintain mobility."

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The nation's canoeists and kayakers, whose competition was supposed to start on Tuesday but has since been postponed to Friday, were also confined indoors, with team manager Lyuina Lee telling ST: "The athletes will be having gym training now that they are not able to train on water. They did some running earlier on before the rain came."

Singapore tennis player Ng, 24, was ironically left high and dry at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in the morning. He had been scheduled to play his men's singles quarter-final at 9am and was at the venue by 7am.

But he was informed only at 2pm that his match had been postponed till Wednesday.

"It's a disruption because the tournament supervisor was not sensible enough to cancel the matches early," he lamented.

When the delays in the tennis competition were raised to organisers, Ramon Suzara, chief operating officer of the the Philippine SEA Games Organizational Committee (Phisgoc), apologised that the athletes were kept waiting for two to three hours but defended the technical delegates, who are the final arbiters of whether events proceed or not, and said: "What is important for the role of the technical delegate is to make sure the field of play is safe to play and the equipment is safe and the athletes are safe."

Kammuri, which is packing winds of 155kmh with maximum gusts of 235kmh, arrived in the wee hours of the morning. It has left one dead and caused over 200,000 to be evacuated and has left parts of the country flooded because of torrential rain.

Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed at 11am local time and is due to remain shut for the next 12 hours.

The Philippine SEA Games Organizational Committee (Phisgoc) also issued a statement to media to alert them of Games disruptions as well as to reassure visitors.

It said it is closely monitoring Typhoon Tisoy, international name Kammuri, and that it is "prepared to take the necessary precautionary measures to secure the safety of all of our guests and athletes".

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"Trust that we have storm-proofed the Games, with several alternate plans queued to ensure that this biennial meet doesn't go beyond its scheduled finish on Dec 11," it added. "We want everyone to prioritise their security during their stay here and wish that they continue to enjoy the 30th SEA Games with the authentic spirit of sportsmanship."

It also urged those interested to refer to its official website and Facebook page for further updates.

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