Typhoon Kammuri halts nearly half of SEA Games events

LIPA, PHILIPPINES - DECEMBER 3: Motorists navigate a flooded highway during the onslaught of Typhoon Kammuri on December 3, 2019 in Lipa town, Batangas province, Philippines. Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated as Typhoon Kammuri slammed into the Philippines' main island of Luzon. The powerful typhoon has forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled and has caused the Southeast Asian Games currently being held in the country to be postponed. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Organisers of the ongoing Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines were forced to suspend almost half the events scheduled for yesterday (Tuesday), due to Typhoon Kammuri.

Most outdoor sports were postponed and rescheduled to Thursday, when Kammuri is expected to exit the country.

Kammuri, which is packing winds of 155km/h with maximum gusts of 235km/h, has left one dead and caused over 200,000 to be evacuated, leaving parts of the Philippines flooded due to torrential rain. Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed at 11am local time and cancelled flights for the next 12 hours on Tuesday.

The Philippine SEA Games Organisational Commitee (Phisgoc) issued a statement saying: “Trust that we have storm-proofed the Games, with several alternate plans queued to ensure that this biennial meet doesn’t go beyond its scheduled finish on December 11.

“We want everyone to prioritise their security during their stay here and wish that they continue to enjoy the 30th SEA Games with the authentic spirit of sportsmanship.”

Some athletes for the tennis event complained of poor management after being told at late notice at 2pm that their matches had been postponed, despite being at the venue by 7am. Singapore tennis player Ng was scheduled to play his men’s singles quarter-final at 9am at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, and said to the Straits Times: ” It’s a disruption because the tournament supervisor was not sensible enough to cancel the matches early.”

Phisgoc chief operating officer Ramon Suzara apologised to athletes that were kept waiting for several hours due to the changes, but defended the technical delegates, who make the decision if events are cancelled, saying: “What is important for the role of the technical delegate is to make sure the field of play is safe to play and the equipment is safe and the athletes are safe.”