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A cool addition to the SEA Games

Ice skating and ice hockey, sports traditionally associated with temperate countries, will feature for the first time in SEA Games history at the next edition in Malaysia in 2017.

Ice skating and ice hockey, sports traditionally associated with temperate countries, will feature for the first time in SEA Games history at the next edition in Malaysia in 2017.

The South East Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) announced this yesterday as they revealed that five additional sports have been accepted into the biennial meet.

The two sports, together with cricket, were inducted into Category Two, which already has 35 sports that feature at the Olympic and Asian Games. Tarung Derajat, a full-contact martial art, and bridge have been inserted into Category Three groups along with 16 other sports.

“It will be a medal sport,” Ice Skating Association of Malaysia president Mohamad Fadzil Johan told TODAY. “Apart from Singapore and Malaysia, we have been assured of participants from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia, who are all members of the International Skating Union.”

Singapore Ice Skating Association president Sonja Chong said Malaysia and Singapore have been working hard for the past two years to get the two winter sports into the SEA Games.

“There will be two ice skating disciplines: Figure skating and short track speed skating. There will be enough countries taking part and so far, apart from Singapore and Malaysia, we expect Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines to field competitors,” said Chong. “It is the legacy I hoped to leave for winter sports in Singapore — winter sports being played side by side with summer sports in a major Games. “

To stage a sport at the SEA Games, the rules require participants from at least four National Olympic Committees.

Brunei also withdrew as hosts of the 2019 SEA Games, as they will not be ready. The Philippines, which last staged the Games in 2005, are keen to step in. IAN DE COTTA

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