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Basketball coaches slam temporary court, dunk on the heat

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Basketball coaches at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games have complained about the quality of the court, blaming the temporary linoleum surface for injuries to players.

The biennial regional sports meet in Phnom Penh is being played mostly at the brand new, China-funded Morodok Techo National Sports Complex.

While the site has a 60,000-seat athletics stadium and an aquatics centre, it lacks a venue specifically for basketball, one of the region’s most hotly contested sports.

Games have been held in a multipurpose sports hall, with large linoleum tiles put down in lieu of the traditional polished wood.

There have also been problems with heat, because of insufficient air conditioning in the room, which is not fully enclosed.

Malaysia’s Magdelene Low Phey Chyi runs with the ball against Thailand. PHOTO: AFP

And coaches are not happy.

“There’s no way we should be playing toplevel international competitions on linoleum,” said Philippines coach Chot Reyes, after his side’s 105-45 win over Singapore.

He added that such tournaments also “should be played in airconditioned gyms. Because we all know moisture and perspiration makes it very slippery”.

He ran off a list of injured players from his country’s men’s and women’s teams, adding: “The other countries have lost players as well.”

The Singapore camp agreed with Reyes’ assessment, saying players had been injured because of the conditions.

“For the first two games, each game we got an injury,” said assistant coach Pang Chin Hong.

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