SEA Games silence is deafening


with Duncan Worthington

Sailing at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia has just wrapped up. What? I hear you ask. You didn’t know there was any sailing at the SEA Games? You didn’t see any daily results?

You’re not the only one.

I’ve spent the last week or so looking for results. Going to the event website which is as pretty as it is useless. After a few days trying to figure out their results “system” on the website, I think I have worked it out – they basically post results of finished events only. What about multi-day events I hear you ask? Football, athletics, sailing? Well, there were some football results posted, and also some athletics heats, but nothing for sailing.

So, if you’ve decided to have sailing in the Games, and you’ve spend “gazillions” hosting the event and building a pretty website, why not actually tell the world what’s happening in that sport? (And all other sports for that matter).

It never ceases to amaze me how badly some of these events are run from a media perspective. While the sporting side may be perfect (I can’t say for sure, as I was not at the SEA Games), but the simple task of publishing results, and perhaps even a report and pics, seems to be beyond the powers-that-be.

To be fair, it’s not just the SEA Games. When Phuket hosted the Asian Beach Games results, delivery of reports and photos wasn’t much better.

Staying with sailing and the SEA Games, I am not even sure who is actually responsible for publishing the results – does anybody know – and where to publish the results? Is it the SEA Games committee? The Malaysian Sailing Association? World Sailing? It’s not clear to me, and apparently not clear to the sailing powers-that-be either. Having trolled facebook pages I found the best source to be Singapore Sailing – the official sailing body in Singapore. (I must also say a big thank you to Narumon Prapawong who asked a Thai official at the Games to photo the results sheets everyday and facebook them to her, and she then to me. Without this support sailing would have disappeared ever further into the ether.)

Perhaps the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand could take a leaf from the books of other sports associations. The Thailand Squash Rackets Association were filming LIVE to facebook the squash competition at the SEA Games and it’s worth noting that Singapore Sailing clearly invested in resources to cover sailing at the Games, and were posting their own daily wrap plus photos of hard copy results.

Yes, hard copy results. This seems to be a quaint obsession with sailing events, the need to print out results and stick them on a noticeboard. It perhaps works for the 0.1% of the world’s passionate sailors at the event, but what about the other 99.9%? What about the media? For a sport that struggles to hold its own against bigger mass spectator events, the powers-that-be still seem rather inward in their thinking.

With smartphones ubiquitous, facebook dominant and Internet access on every corner, perhaps the sailing hierarchy could consider the world wide web. And once they have mastered that, perhaps they could consider live results. OK, perhaps I’m hoping for too much with the last one.

In Thailand, the amateur sailing events out perform the SEA Games (and Asian Games, Asian Beach Games and all other regional games) hands down in terms of delivery of timely results, reports and images of the day’s racing. Delivered to the Inboxes of media around the world, available online for anyone to view freely, shared widely on social media, and yes, hard copy results on event noticeboards.

I’m not against the old approach but let’s mix it with the “new”. The world wide web is 28 years old, after all.

SEA Games silence is deafening | News by Thaiger

Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications ( consults to leading consumer brands, hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal

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