Week one of my SEA Games in done. Technically I am only on the Tournament Committee, though my MASOC accreditation says I am the guest to the Vice-President. No idea which one, or why. But as the go-to guy in the Royal Malaysian Polo Association, it has been a hectic enough week.
FIP Officials started to arrive a week ago. Finding their accreditation cards was the first game of the Games. Then the Umpires arrived, and somehow their cards were in another airport, or so we were led to believe. The MASOC Sports Officer must have been having an awful time with airports, even going to wrong one to greet H.R.H Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, who is a participant in the dressage at the SEA Games.
Many countries have had issues with accreditation, as I am sure accrediting 5,000 athletes and probably as many officials is no mean feat. We have to adapt and evolve, and with the help of and understanding of the Technical Director John Fischer (AUS), I would say we are coping.
We bumped into the Putrajaya venue last Monday. The first thing John did was to move the Secretariat from a 12′ x 12′ room with no aircon or security, to the FIP Officials room downstairs. That has become the hub of the games.
15 horses from Singapore were the first to arrive at the SEA Games polo stables in Putrajaya on Tuesday 15th. Brunei, Thailand and Malaysia finally arrived on Friday 18th August, before the stable closed.
The Stewards, Karen Gan, Neville Stewart and Hugo Fischer numbered and photographed all the horses in the games. If you would like to see what each team’s horses look like, take a look at these PDF links:
The first few days was taken up stewarding of the stick and ball practices. Yesterday was practice day on the Putrajaya field.
Malaysia came out swinging, swaggering to an awesome 10-6 win over Thailand in the morning practice game. Not too many supporters came out to watch it, but in the afternoon there was a much bigger turnout for the Singapore vs Brunei practice. If you thought Malaysia was a shoo-in after their practice, you would have had to have a moment to reconsider, after the way Singapore steam-rolled Brunei 12 -7. It was impressive.
From an organizational point of view, it is still very challenging, though I admit, not as challenging as the Dressage event, where I hear the FEI, represented here by their TD Mary Seefried (AUS), have their hands full!