The 29th Southeast Asian Games will officially kick-off in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur on 19th August 2017 with 38 sports being contested – with winter sports making its debut. With these winter sports, we can be sure to see South East Asian nations participating in future winter games – like the winter Olympics. Here’s a bunch of epic sports to watch during the SEA Games this year:
1. Ice Hockey
Even though we live in a hot and tropical climate, this sport has been a part of us for a while now. It was established here in 2006 and our local men have managed to claim an impressive result in several tournaments and games in Asia. During the 2008 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia, we even managed to grab 2nd place and in 2012, 3rd place. The same team had also participated in the Asian Winter Games in 2017 and finished 5th.
2. Ice Skating
Many figure skaters have been dying to compete in this event during the SEA Games, so that they can gain valuable experience and boost their chances for competiting in other winter events. That’s especially the case for our own Chew Kai Xiang, a 16-year-old who has trained hard to compete against tough competitors like Philippine skater, Michael Christian Martinez.
3. Short Track Speed Skating
We’ve got a good chance of doing well in this event as both Ariff Rasydan Fadzli and Wong De-Vin have been giving us strong results. The former earned a gold in the 1000m and silver in the 500m at the Melbourne Open in 2015 whilst the latter was a runner-up in both the 1500m and 500m men’s senior events during the Southeast Asian Short Track Trophy this year, apart from the Indian premier league. But both have to work harder to beat Singaporean Lucas Ng who claimed gold medals in the event De-Vin was in.
Indonesia is already targeting gold in both the men’s and women’s categories that they’ve sent their teams to India for a friendly match as part of its tune-up. But Malaysia could really use its home ground advantage and emerge victorious.
5. Tarung Derajat
This hybrid of martial arts and street fighting is practised throughout the reason with Indonesia being the nation to beat during the SEA Games as there’s where the sport’s deep roots come from. However, Malaysia is also considered a serious threat following their overall victory at the 2nd Tarung Derajat East Asia Championship (2016), with three gold and four bronze won.
A card game? What? This ‘sport’ is slowly legitimising itself as a serious sporting event. As August rolls around, Bridge will make a return to the SEA Games, six years after its debut in Indonesia, who won a total of four golds from a total of nine Bridge disciplines. But Singapore is also an interesting contender, following their two-gold win at the 2nd Asian Bridge Championship in 2014.