Philippines pull out, but women's floorball to continue
Philippines withdraw, but organising committee says event will go ahead
Floorball initially faced the chop from the 36-event programme at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games for failing to meet the Games' Federation Charter and Rules that state: "A minimum of four National Olympic Councils (NOC) must participate in a sport/event for it to be included in the programme."
The New Paper reported on April 14 that only Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand had registered teams for both the men's and women's competitions. Subsequently, the sport was saved by the inclusion of the Philippines in both events (our report on May 17).
The Philippines have now withdrawn their women's team, leaving the event with just three participating nations again. But the Singapore South-east Asia Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) confirmed that the show will go on.
This is the first time that the sport will feature competitively at the Games.
Floorball made its debut at the SEA Games in 2013 in Myanmar but only as a demonstration sport and no official medals were given out.
A Singsoc spokesman confirmed yesterday that the Philippines had submitted their women's team during the initial phase of registration, and if a team withdraw after initial registration, the event will continue.
Singapore Floorball Association president Sani Mohd Salim told TNP yesterday: "We have confirmed with Singsoc that there will be no change, the women's tournament will continue, and our girls will go for gold."
Organisers still remain hopeful that another country - possibly Indonesia - will step in and replace the Philip- pines.
"I'm not sure why the Philippines pulled out, but we are, anyway, still waiting for Indonesia who have yet to confirm their participation," said Sani, a former national hockey goalkeeper.
"They competed in the SEA Floorball Championships last December and finished third, and I think they have a good chance of winning a medal again here,'' he added.
In December's four-team tournament featuring Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and hosts Singapore, there were identical podium finishes in both the men's and women's events.
Singapore took the two top spots in the inaugural championships, with Malaysia second and Indonesia third.
Singapore are favourites to sweep both gold medals at the SEA Games, but a question mark hangs over the bronze medal in the women's tournament.
The SEA Games Federation Charter and Rules state that in events with only three participants, only the gold and silver medal will be presented.
But TNP understands there is a possibility that the team that finish third in the women's floorball competition will still get their hands on the bronze.
But none of that will matter to Sani and his floorball players, who have set their sights firmly on gold.
"We've set a target of gold and that hasn't changed. Based on preparations and the exposure that both the men's and women's team have got, we're on track to meet that target," he said.
The floorball competition will be held at ITE College East from June 9 to 14.