Friday, December 7, 2007

SEA Games: Council to punish late withdrawals, report says

Agence France-Presse

KORAT, Thailand - Late competition pull-outs by athletes at the SEA Games will no longer be tolerated, with nations responsible facing punishment, according to a report Friday.

The SEA Games Council agreed in principle Thursday to punish the Olympic committee of the relevant country, said the Bangkok Post.

"We agreed in principle to punish the NOC (National Olympic Committee) whose athletes withdraw from events late," Charoen Wattanasin, Thailand's representative on the council, was quoted as saying after a meeting of the body.

Malaysia pulled out of the sepak takraw competition at the Korat Games just days before the event, in protest at the use of a new rubber-coated ball, the report said.

Malaysian athletes in the men's 800 metres, women's 800m and women's 200m also withdrew Thursday, according to Surapong Ariyamongkol, secretary general of the Amateur Athletic Association of Thailand.

However, Malaysia claimed the athletes were injured and there were no other reasons for the withdrawals.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Sepak Takraw Association president Datuk Ahmad Ismail claims he has been banned from travelling to Thailand, according to a report in Malaysia's New Straits Times.

He said although the Malaysian team had pulled out of the SEA Games, he wanted to be in Korat as the deputy president of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation and International Sepak Takraw Federation.

Thailand won gold in both the men's and women's sepak takraw hoop events Thursday.

In the hoop version of sepak takraw, played using the feet and head, teams aim to put a ball into a suspended net.

The other version being played here is broadly a blend of football and volleyball and is played across a net.

Eleven nations are chasing a total of 475 gold medals at the 24th SEA Games in more than 40 sports.

As well as headline events such as football, athletics, swimming and badminton, athletes are competing in a range of lesser-known sports at the 10-day biennial showpiece such as sepak takraw.

SEA Games participants are Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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