AROUND 6,000 athletes, coaches and delegation officials from 11 participating countries will converge at the world-known 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bulacan when the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games officially kick-off Saturday, November 30.
The biennial multi-sport event, with the theme of "We Win As One,” is scheduled from November 30 to December 11, although some games have already started days before the kick-off.
Gracing the opening rites is President Rodrigo Duterte. It will be attended by sports officials and different heads and representatives from participating nations.
Competing in 63 disciplines are countries from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, Timor Leste, and Philippines.
This is the fourth time that the Philippines is hosting the SEA Games, with the first three in 1981, 1991 and 2005.
However, this edition’s hosting marked by the first major decentralization in the history of the SEA Games, with competition venues spread in 23 cities across Luzon, divided into four clusters -- the Metro Manila, the Clark, the Subic and Olongapo, and a fourth cluster consisting of stand-alone venues.
Likewise, this SEA Games is also the first edition to include e-sports and obstacle course as part of the competition.
But while many are expecting to have a grand presentation of the 30th SEA Games, the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) was challenged by several news articles of disorganized handling of visiting teams and unpreparedness.
However, Phisgocchairman and House Speaker Alan Cayetano took full responsibility for the issues thrown against the organization and answered the allegations about mishandling of the event.
The country's hosting of the 30th SEA Games is said to be the stepping stone for its possible bid to host the 2030 Asian Games.