November 7 - Olympic sports should comprise more than half the events at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games according to Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi.
The 2017 Games are due to be held in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching, marking the fourth occasion the country has held the Games.
Sieh said he believed that more than half the events at these Games will be official Olympic sports, basing his argument on his experience of the 2001 Southeast Asian Games which were were also held in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
"Of the 32 events contested at 2001 SEA Games, 22 are Olympic events while the remaining ten events are often contested at the Asian Games and SEA Games," he told Malaysian news agency Bernama.
"In my opinion, the number of events contested at 2017 SEA Games will most likely be the same as that in 2001.
The Southeast Asian Games, a biennial multiple sports event involving the participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia, is unique in the way that there are no official limits to the number of sports which may be contested and the range may be decided by the organising hosts pending approval from the Southeast Asian Games Federation.
This leeway has resulted in the hosts maximising their medal potential by introducing sports in which they excel at or obscure sports that other nations no nothing or very little about, while excluding sports in which they have a disadvantage over their opponents.
After the announcement that Malaysia will play hosts to the 2017 Games, National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong promised not to turn the event into a "circus" by having ridiculous and irrelevant events.
He said traditional Olympic sports, which Malaysia have dominated in previous years, such as synchronised swimming, gymnastics and track cycling will play a crucial role in the 2017 Games after being controversially left out of the 2013 edition due to be held in Myanmar next month.
Obscure sports in Myanmar this year like chinlone, kempo, traditional boat race and vovinam will be kept out of the 2017 games.
However, even with promises to exclude "circus" sports in 2017, Malaysia will be excluding the traditional sport of wrestling, in which they have no presence, while sepak takraw will see a reduction in events to prevent Thailand, Malaysia's main threat to overall supremacy, from padding their gold medal tally.
They will also do all they can to introduce squash back into the competition due to their dominance in the sport.
"The selection of events will be consistent with the Olympics and play to our strengths," said NSC director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong in Bukit Jalil.
"If you take sepak takraw and chinlone, which together offer 18 gold medals, I think that is too much.
"When we become hosts, four events will be enough.
"For squash, we can have it like badminton and table tennis with seven events.
"Track cycling can go to its maximum and we also want synchronised swimming and water skiing back."
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