Various SEA Games events hit by storm

Typhoon Kammuri's fury bore down on the main Philippine island of Luzon yesterday, forcing organisers of the 30th SEA Games to postpone or bring forward events, with at least 14 sports hit.

The Philippine SEA Games Organisational Committee (Phisgoc) announced a slew of changes to the schedules of some sports, in particular those based outdoors, as venue sites in Manila, Clark and Subic were hit by heavy rain and strong winds.

In a Facebook announcement posted just after noon, Phisgoc said sports such as sailing and windsurfing were postponed and would resume tomorrow, while the start of others such as the modern pentathlon were moved to the same day that Typhoon Kammuri is expected to exit the country.

Other sports that were affected included beach volleyball, canoe-kayak, muay thai, sepak takraw, silat, triathlon/duathlon, underwater hockey, skateboarding, polo and petanque. E-sports, which will be held in Manila, had its athletes' training schedule changed from yesterday to today.

Windsurfing, beach volleyball and canoe-kayak events were suspended or postponed on Monday as organisers geared up for the storm's arrival.

The men's Under-22 football match between Singapore and Vietnam at the Rizal Memorial Stadium proceeded as scheduled yesterday, with organisers stating that they would stop the match only if there was a thunderstorm or if the pitch was flooded.

Mr Shawn Chue, team manager of the Singapore men'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 the typhoon made landfall. The matches will be compressed into the remaining two days of the tournament, he said.

Mr Chue, who is based in Alabang, Manila, 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 and gym workouts for physical conditioning and to maintain mobility."

Tennis player Steve Ng, 24, was scheduled to play the men's singles quarter-final at 9am yesterday. He told ST that he had turned up at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex at 7am and had to "wait around" until 2pm, when his manager informed him of the postponement.

He added: "It's a disruption because the tournament supervisor (did not) cancel the matches early. However, this happens regularly in tennis, so it's not a one-off thing."

Typhoon Kammuri, packing winds of 155kmh with maximum gusts of 235kmh, arrived in the early hours of yesterday.

Phisgoc issued a media statement on disruptions to the Games and to reassure visitors. It said it was monitoring the typhoon closely and was "prepared to take the necessary precautionary measures to secure the safety of all of our guests and athletes".

Mr Ramon Suzara, Phisgoc's chief operating officer, stressed at a press conference yesterday that alternate plans were in place, and the Games would not go beyond their scheduled finish on Dec 11.

Phisgoc said in its statement: "Trust that we have storm-proofed the Games... 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Various SEA Games events hit by storm'. Print Edition | Subscribe