Host county Thailand scraps PHL’s 4 pet events in 2025 SEA Games

Elreen Ando and the rest of the PHL weightlifters are still in doubt to join the next edition of the SEA Games (Chris Gaythen/Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Thailand, the host country that will organize the upcoming 2025 Southeast Asian Games, has decided to eliminate four of the Philippines’ pet events confirmed on June 18, 2024.

Despite a year left for the preparation of the next edition of the SEA Games, the Thais already made their preliminary moves and scrapped weightlifting, wushu, karate, and jiu-jitsu in the biennial sporting event.

The recent development became a huge blow for the Philippine delegation as these four events comprised a majority of the country’s gold medals in the past SEA Games.

During the 32nd SEA Games held in Cambodia, Vanessa Sarno, Elreen Ando, Agatha Wong, Jamie Lim, Sakura Alforte, Kaila Napolis, Annie Ramirez, and Marc Lim delivered gold medals for the PHL via a lopsided fashion.

Now that the PHL are in danger of losing four of their winning events, they are also set to lose more gold medals if Thailand stands firm with their decision.

In response to Thailand’s newly set rules, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino confirmed that they already appealed to overturn the decision.

According to Tolentino, it is not only the PHL that didn’t agree with Thailand’s move, but they were also joined by some neighboring countries.

“We have already appealed to the Thai hosts for the inclusion of weightlifting, wushu, jiu-jitsu, and karate. We stand to lose many gold medals if the appeal is not granted,” said Tolentino.

The PHL delegation is looking to bounce back after only finishing fifth during the last edition of the SEA Games where they collected 58 golds, 86 silvers, and 116 bronze medals.

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