Manila—Some of the scheduled events of this year’s South East Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the Typhoon Kammuri, which entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility over the weekend.
The tropical cyclone brings winds of 112 kph up to 170 kph. The national weather forecasting service has issued warnings on the potential destructiveness of these winds, and Kammuri is expected to make landfall by Monday night, December 2.
Public storm signal warnings have been raised in different parts of the country as its citizens prepare for strong winds and torrential rain expected to last until Thursday, December 5, but the storm is expected to leave the country by the following day.
Weather expert Aldczar Aurelio said, “If there’s good news, it’s that it’s moving quickly. But we still expect strong rain and wind.”
In preparation for the storm, over 3000 people were evacuated from their homes in the Philippines’ Bicol region and have been relocated to evacuation centers. Classes and work in government offices have also been suspended.
This year’s SEA Games officially opened on Saturday night, November 30 at the Philippine Arena, graced by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and worldwide boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, and will end on December 11.
Typhoon Kammuri upset the scheduled events, with windsurfing, which was supposed to be held in Subic, cancelled over concerns for participants’ safety.
The organising committee’s head of the Subic cluster of venues, Ramon Agregado, said, “The windsurfing has been cancelled until we have a more accurate picture of the weather.”
Other events were moved forward so they could take place before the wind and rains struck, such as the women’s triathlon, which was held on Sunday, December 1, instead of its originally scheduled December 2, Monday, time slot.
The duathlon events, originally slated for Tuesday, December 3, have been bumped up to Monday, December 2.
Mr Agregado has announced that while the venues for the events remain the same, should the weather take a turn for the worse, the equipment necessary for the events will be packed up and then reassembled when they are rescheduled.
Host country the Philippines put up a strong showing on the first day of the SEA Games, winning 23 golds in eight events including the men’s and women’s triathlon, and men’s gymnastics. This is just one medal short of the total of 24 gold medals the Philippines won in the last SEA Games in 2017, where the country finished sixth overall.
Athletes from Singapore have seen their shares of gold medals as well, with Yong Yi Xiang winning the country’s first gold medal in Wushu in the men’s changquan finals on December 1, Sunday.
Channel NewsAsia CNA quotes him as saying, “I felt that it was a good performance of my usual training standards, definitely there’s areas for improvements especially looking at the other high-level athletes from other Southeast Asian countries.
I’m very shocked and still a bit disbelief (to be Singapore’s first Games gold medalist. But I’m really very honoured and thankful for this opportunity.”
The country’s women’s floorball team also gained a gold after besting Thailand 3-2 on Sunday night. The team successfully defended their SEA Games title. -/TISG