By Kristel Satumbaga
Olympic Council of Asia vice president Wei Jizhong of China yesterday suggested the Philippines should consider bidding for “bigger events” like the 2030 Asian Games after his first-hand experience with the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Wei shared his detailed observations during a press briefing at the World Trade Center, the media conference tackling topics ranging from the spectacular opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena last Saturday to the many little details such as the world-class facilities, guidebooks, traffic, venue and volunteer hospitality.
“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,” he said.
“This means that Philippines is capable to organize bigger-scale Games.”
Wei cited the attitude of the Filipino people towards sports as among the major factors that impressed him. He shared that he attended the ice hockey event at the Mall of Asia Ice Rink and was surprised that the venue was packed with spectators even if the sport is not as popular as others like basketball.
Wei also said the glitches in the early days of the competition are normal, as other host nations have also experienced it.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino welcomed the idea, saying: “Wala namang masamang sumubok. I-evaluate pa nila yan.”
The next Asian Games hosts have already been named with Hangzhou, China hosting the 19th edition in 2022 and Nagoya, Japan hosting the 20th edition in 2026.
Vietnam, meanwhile, will host the 31st edition of the SEA Games in 2021.