OCA vice-president lauds Philippines SEA Games; suggests 2030 Asian Games bid

The crowd watches on at the opening ceremony of the Southeast Asian Games at the Philippines Arena on November 30, 2019 in Bulacan, Philippines. (Photo by Gary Tyson/Getty Images for SEA Games)

Olympic Council of Asia vice-president Wei Jizhong said he was “very impressed” by how the Philippines are hosting the ongoing SEA Games, and suggested they should consider bidding for “bigger events” like the 2030 Asian Games.

Speaking during a press briefing to Filipino media, he said: “The Philippine Arena is perhaps a unique arena in the world. We witnessed the enthusiasm of all athletes, and showed the excellent tradition of the SEA Games so far.”

“This means that the Philippines is capable to organize bigger-scale Games.”

Wei cited the enthusiasm in the Philippines towards sport as a major factor. He said he was surprised at how ice hockey events were packed with spectators, even though the sport is not as popular as others like basketball. He also referenced the early glitches in the competition, where logistical problems led to arriving athletes being stranded for hours at the airport and brought to the wrong hotels, as “normal” for most host nations of major sports events.

PHISGOC released at least 10,000 complimentary tickets to many of the 56 sports and closing ceremony at the SEA Games to locals, to increase local accessibility and interest in the event.

The Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino has welcomed the OCA’s support to host the 2030 Asian Games, saying: “It’s a good idea, and we will evaluate it.”

The next Asian Games hosts have already been named, with Hangzhou, China hosting the 2022 Games, and Nagoya, Japan hosting the 2026 Games.