Thailand Officials Say Obscure Sports Risk Ruining Southeast Asian Games
Thai officials said on Tuesday that the Southeast Asian Games risk decreasing in value "with more traditional sports represented at next month's Myanmar tournament," according to Kittipong Thongsombat of the BANGKOK POST. Thailand has spent more than 300M baht ($9.3M) "preparing its athletes for the Games," to be held Dec 11-22. Sports Authority of Thailand Deputy Governor Sakol Wannapong said that "the biennial tournament may struggle to attract investment as the standard drops, along with its popularity." Sakol: "Some say that the Games is just to strengthen the relationships among the member countries. If so, we do not need to spend that sum of money. It costs a lot with a Thai athlete getting 900 baht per day in preparing for the Games. It is better to spend money on development." Thai National Olympic Committee VP Charoen Wattanasin agreed that "there are too many sports at the Games." Charoen: "Among the gold medals, about 35 percent are from combat sports. Some of the sports, you've never heard of them before in your life" (BANGKOK POST, 11/27).