PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino confirmed on Thursday that the Philippines will again host the Southeast Asian Games in 2033.
Tolentino, also the PhilCycling president, said he pushed for the country’s fifth hosting of the games during the three-day Southeast Asian Games Federation Council Meeting that ended on Wednesday at the Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“We bid for that [2033 SEA Games] hosting and the council unanimously approved it without questions. They know our capabilities as a great host,” said Tolentino, an honorary lifetime president of the SEA Games Federation and council member. “It’s a long way to go, but at least we’re sure that we will host the games.”
Vietnam hosted the one year-postponed 31st edition of the games because of Covid-19. After Cambodia’s hosting of the 32nd edition from May 5 to 16, 2023, the games return to Bangkok, Thailand in 2025, Kuala Lumpur in 2027, Singapore in 2029 and Laos in 2031.
“We don’t have any problems with the infrastructures and sporting venues because we already had them when we hosted them three years ago,” Tolentino said.
The Philippines first hosted the SEA Games in 1981, then in 1991, 2005 and 2019, when it emerged the overall champion as well as in 2005. Only Timor Leste hasn’t hosted the games.
Ramon “Tats” Suzara, chief operating officer of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Committee in 2019, said the 2033 hosting will set a new benchmark for Philippine sports.
“That would be another level of hosting the SEA Games,” Suzara said. “2033 could be a basis if we can host world-class sporting events like the Asian Games. It’s good for the country.”
Tolentino said the 2033 hosting will be formally presented to Malacañang for the Philippine government’s acceptance of the responsibility.
“After presenting the hosting bid to the council, and following its approval, the POC and the SEA Games Council will ask the Philippine government to issue a letter of support,” said Tolentino, who was accompanied in Phnom Penh by POC deputy secretaries general Bones Floro and Carl Sambrano, medical and anti-doping committee head Bobby Moran and women in sports committee chair Carla Maramara.
“If the government declines, the hosting chores will be offered to another country.”
The country was third overall in 1981 with a 55-55-77 gold-silver-bronze tally, second to Indonesia by one gold in 1991 with 91-62-84, first in 2005 with 112-84-94 and again No. 1 in 2019 with 149-117-121.