17 July 2015, Dubai, UAE. Dubai PCG Consul General Paul Raymund P Cortes attended the first ever Sepak Takraw International Invitational Tournament held at the Dubai World Trade Center participated in by various Philippine, Malaysian, and Thai delegations from the UAE and Qatar and other local enthusiasts.
Consul General Cortes commended the efforts of the members of the Filipino Expatriates Sepak Takraw Association or FESTA, which organized the ground breaking tournament, for bringing together a formidable line up of teams from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and other teams from the GCC during the one-day sepak takraw competition. The sport is more popularly known and practiced in Southeast Asia than any other region in the world. The competition, sponsored by local Filipino businesses engaged in sports, and a number of Filipino sports organizations, proves that the sport is still growing in popularity and acceptance among Southeast Asian expatriate communities in the GCC.
ConGen Cortes also stressed that this tournament proves that the Filipinos, especially those based in the Middle East, can lead the way in the promotion of indigenous sports in the host countries and promote sportsmanship among expatriate communities.
The new Consul General who was formerly the Director of the ASEAN Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, advocates community-based sports events among the large Filipino community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and to a large extent, is an exponent of people to people cooperation especially among ASEAN member countries. He explained that such tournaments provide avenues for cultural promotion and on a more practical note, even business networking.
During the closing ceremony, ConGen Cortes expressed hope and enthusiasm that FESTA could continue promoting the sport among other nationalities especially among interested Emiratis and in other expatriate communities in Dubai.
At present, the Consulate has already been made aware of efforts to establish a Philippine Sports Federation in the UAE to be composed or various league-sponsoring organizations, business owners and other leaders from the Filipino community. Should this initiative come into fruition, it may be the first ever formally organized federation of its kind which, to some degree, may guarantee sustained promotion of Sepak Takraw in the UAE.
(Left) Thai Deputy Consul General Fabio Chinda delivers the opening kick of the competition.