No table tennis, gymnastics and badminton for this year's SEA Games

SINGAPORE - The four sports accounted for almost a fifth of the 42 gold medals Singapore won at the last South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Indonesia two years ago.

But in a surprising turn of events, badminton, gymnastics, table tennis and tennis - all Olympic sports - have been dropped from the SEA Games in Myanmar this December.

The four sports were among the 31 confirmed at the first SEA Games Council meeting held in the Myanmarese capital Naypyidaw last July, with the inclusion of seven sports - fencing, fin swimming, hockey, petanque, soft tennis, tarung derajat (an Indonesian martial art) and vovinam (a Vietnamese martial art) - to be discussed in a meeting next week.

The various National Olympic Committees received an updated list earlier this week in preparation for the meeting, with the four Olympic sports conspicuously absent.

Singapore National Olympic Council secretary general Chris Chan has sent the local organisers a letter on this matter, with several other countries lending their support.

Chan said: "Nothing has been finalised yet. As with many previous Games, there's always room for discussions and I brought the matter to the attention of the local organisers, which elicited responses from other countries as well.

"I am sure at the end of the day good sense will prevail - we don't need to include all Olympic sports in the SEA Games; we are not organising a mini-Olympics after all.

"But it would make sense to include Olympic sports that Asean countries are good in - weight-lifting (for Thailand) and table tennis (for Singapore) for example."

Under the SEA Games Federation Charter, each edition of the biennial event must consist of a minimum of 22 sports.

Athletics and aquatics are compulsory - they come under Category 1 sports, while a minimum of 14 sports contested in the Asian and Olympic Games (Category 2) must also be included.

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