To say that the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) hosted by the Philippines is off to a rocky start is an understatement.
The SEA Games will officially open on Nov 30, but the host country’s apparent lack of management and preparation has been the subject of constant criticism not only from the locals but also from the foreign delegates and athletes as well.
Singapore’s own official team has raised concerns over food and logistics provided for the team.
On Nov 24, Chef De Mission Juliana Seow wrote a letter addressed to Ramon Suzara, Chief Operating Officer of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) requesting “urgent and immediate” attention.
The Singapore football team is staying at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, but Seow wrote that the team did not receive “sufficient halal food and had very limited food options.”
Officials of the team also “had to starve” due to the inadequate food options.
Additionally, Singapore’s netball team staying at Somerset Alabang and netball team at Luxent Hotel south of Manila needed to order food outside the hotel to have a full, nutritious meal for the hungry athletes.
Seow also drew attention to the problems they faced for accreditation and transportation.
“The Accreditation Centre at the airports were also not ready. We had to send our staff in our own vehicles to Football, Floorball and Netball hotels and bring their accreditation to World Trade Centre to validate and bring them back to the teams yesterday,” Seow said.
“While we try our best to be patient and understanding, we cannot make any compromise when our athletes are affected directly.”
Singapore’s netball team had its first game on Monday (Nov 25) and won against the Philippines with a score of 80-28.
Several countries have also raised complaints about the ill-preparedness of the Phisgoc to welcome the delegates.
The Timor-Leste football team was reportedly stranded at the airport for three hours and then sent to the wrong hotel.
Myanmar’s football team also complained of transportation problems, while photos of Cambodia’s team circulated online showed the athletes sleeping on the floor of a hotel’s conference room.
Even the Philippines’ own football team was not exempt from the shabby treatment of the Phisgoc. The women’s football coach expressed disappointment at the insufficient and barely nutritious food served to them consisting of heh gerng, rice, and egg.
Netizens air their disappointment and criticism using the trending hashtag #SEAGamesFail on Twitter.
The Phisgoc has since apologised to the affected delegates./TISG