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SEA Games sports programme to be standardised from 2025 to 2029

PHNOM PENH – To help regional athletes better prepare for the Olympics and Asian Games, the next three SEA Games held in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore respectively will feature a standard sports programme.

At the review for Team Singapore’s performance at these Games, Singapore National Olympic Council secretary general Chris Chan revealed that the SEA Games Federation Council accepted a revision to its charter “to ensure there will be more Olympic and Asian Games sports in the SEA Games programme”.

Chan acknowledged that the charter is unique in the sense that each South-east Asian country is able to host the Games, which may mean that it is tough for every host to have a fixed programme.

However, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have reached an agreement to do so for the 2025, 2027 and 2029 editions.

According to the previous charter, each Games must have both Category 1 sports which are aquatics and athletics. They must also include a minimum of 14 Category 2 sports from the Olympics and Asian Games, and can include up to eight other Category 3 sports that are regional or traditional sports.

SEA Games hosts have been known to use this to their advantage by maximising the number of Category 3 sports to inflate their medal tally.

Chan shared that the change for the next three editions means that the compulsory Category 1 will now include two groups – 1A, which comprises aquatics and athletics; and 1B, which is a minimum of 10 Olympic sports from Tokyo 2020.

Hosts will also need to include a minimum of 10 other sports from the Tokyo 2020, Asian Games and Asian Indoor Games programmes under Category 2. Winter Olympic sports may also be included.

Category 3 will remain for regional or traditional sports, of which there can be a maximum of four.

Siam Sport reported in January that the SEA Games 2025 sub-committee had shortlised 43 sports. At the latest, these will be confirmed a year before the Games.

Singapore Sport Institute chief Su Chun Wei said: “This is a very positive development to the next three editions. It certainly gives us the ability to plan for multiple cycles of the SEA Games.

“This gives athletes, coaches and the sport the certainty that there is a journey that will map them for the foreseeable few cycles. And I hope that this inspires them and spurs them to take the decision to go and do their best for a longer period of time.

“It is very good for high performance ecosystem when there is a more consistent SEA Games portfolio, and we can certainly work to map out those plans and support the athletes in their journey in the next five or six years.”