Typhoon forces re-scheduling at Philippines' SEA Games

by James EDGAR
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The storm wrought particular havoc on water-based and outdoor events at the SEA Games

Powerful Typhoon Kammuri forced organisers of the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines to reschedule about half of the events set for Tuesday, but they pledged the competition would finish on time.

The storm, which made landfall late Monday, wrought particular havoc on water-based and outdoor events, causing at least 16 of them to be postponed.

However, a similar amount of competitions -- primarily indoor ones -- were supposed to go ahead as planned, a statement from the organisers said.

"It's not safe to play and we apologise," Ramon Suzara, the organising committee's chief operating officer, told a news conference, announcing the rescheduling.

Kammuri brought high winds and heavy rains across the northern Philippines, but did not directly hit the region around the capital Manila, which is home to the three main event hubs.

The storm's potent gusts also forced officials to close Manila's international airport as a precaution, which will delay several basketball teams for the 5 x 5 competition that starts on Wednesday.

Organisers stressed that the Games, which opened Saturday, won't "go beyond its scheduled finish on December 11".

"We are prepared to take the necessary precautionary measures to secure the safety of all of our guests and athletes," their statement added.

Several sports were postponed at one of the main SEA Games clusters in Subic, including beach volleyball, canoe and kayaking, muay, pencak silat, sailing, windsurfing, modern pentathlon, surfing and sepak takraw.

Triathlon and duathlon events in Subic -- on the west coast of the main island of Luzon in the country's north -- had already been brought forward.

Underwater hockey, skateboarding and polo, due to be held in southern Luzon, were also halted.

All sports at the Manila cluster went ahead as planned, including an afternoon football match between Laos and Thailand in which the players battled through driving rain.

Organisers, however, said they also cancelled a scheduled training for esports Tuesday.

At the main cluster in Clark, AFP journalists saw abandoned spectator stands and dismantled tents at softball and baseball venues as rain poured down, and at the petanque venue, some national flags had been blown over by the strong winds.

This year's SEA Games in Clark, Manila and Subic, which started officially on December 1, are particularly complex with a record 56 sports across dozens of venues.

Around 8,750 athletes and team officials are expected at this year's 30th edition with another 12,000 volunteers.

The Philippines on Tuesday picked up two more golds in arnis, taking their overall tally in the martial art to 14, and won five in wushu in Manila.

World champion gymnast Carlos Yulo won't be making a clean sweep of all seven golds on offer at this year's Games after claiming silvers in both the pommel horse and rings. But he will return on Wednesday where the last three events will be decided.

The home nation topped the evening's medal table with more than 90 overall -- nearly 50 of them gold -- ahead of Vietnam and Malaysia.

The storm wrought particular havoc on water-based and outdoor events at the SEA Games

Typhoon Kammuri's potent gusts forced officials to close Manila's international airport as a precaution

Kammuri has brought high winds and heavy rains across the northern Philippines

Typhoon Kammuri has caused approximately 16 events at the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines to be postponed