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No coordination for synchronised swimming at 2013 SEA games despite lobbying

Publication Date : 08-10-2012


The next Southeast Asian Games host Myanmar may have concluded to remove the Summer Olympic sports of synchronised swimming and fencing from the biennial multi-sport event, but the fight is still on for the aquatic sport.

The Indonesian Swimming Association's head of the synchronised swimming division, Fitrah Utami Black, says Indonesia has joined forces with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam since 2010 to lobby Myanmar for the inclusion of the sport in the 2013 SEA Games in December.

"Not only have synchronised swimming associations from all of those countries lobbied Myanmar, but our federations, which are higher than associations, also have tried the same thing," Black told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

She said the last time the seven countries tried to lobby Myanmar was in June during a Southeast Asian aquatic competition. "I haven't had a chance to follow it up again [...] but we're still fighting for it," she said.

Head of athletes' development at the Indonesian Fencing Association, Khairuman, said his organisation had also lobbied Myanmar to include fencing on the list, but to no avail.

"We'd love to have fencing at the SEA Games. But their decision is final," he told the Post. "We may try to lobby Myanmar again but it seems impossible as the clock is ticking."

Khairuman said Indonesia and other countries had even offered to give medals to Myanmar during the event in efforts to have fencing in the SEA Games and to encourage the host to develop its fencing although he admitted that there was no sportsmanship in that offer.

"Let's say if they want silver or bronze medals, other countries are ready to give the medals to them. But the offer did not work because for one reason they don't have a fencing association to organise the sport at the event," he said.

Being the organiser of such an event gives a privilege to the host, as they decide what sports to run, often informed by which ones will or will not favour them in the medal stakes, synchronised swimming and fencing are definitely not on Myanmar's list.

In a SEA Games council meeting in July in Myanmar, the host decided to organise 31 sports for competition and three exhibition sports, namely chinlone, tarung drajat and vovinam.

Apart from synchronised swimming, four other sports, which Indonesia would have been medal favourites for, will be absent. The four sports are in-line skating, rock climbing, kempo and fin swimming.

In the 2011 SEA Games, Indonesia's synchronised swimming team won one silver and four bronze medals, according to Black.


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