SEN. Miguel Zubiri, president of the Philippine Eskrima and Kali Arnis Federation, has not given up on arnis being included in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in November next year.
Zubiri said he wrote to Vietnam Olympic Committee president Nguyen Ngoc Thien and secretary general Man Van Tranh last Nov. 5, appealing arnis’ inclusion in the Games.
Zubiri noted the country has “a tremendous potential to be the overall champion” should arnis be included in the games anew.
After an absence of 15 years, Filipino arnis athletes made a huge comeback in the last SEA Games, delivering 14 gold, four silver and two bronze medals and contributed heavily in enabling the hosts to recapture the overall crown with a grand harvest of 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medals.
The Vietnamese finished second overall in the arnis competition of the last games with four gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals.
“I am confident that the inclusion of arnis in the 31st SEA Games would not only contribute to strengthening of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Vietnam but would also bring our people closer together in the spirit of sportsmanship and cultural exchange,” Zubiri said.
“As the second best (arnis) team in Southeast Asia, it makes perfect sense for them to include it as there is an opportunity for them to excel in arnis as well,” he added.