Athletes and officials of Malaysia march during the opening ceremony of the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Kuala Lumpur on August 19, 2017
Sixteen Malaysian athletes have been hit by food poisoning at the Southeast Asian Games and one is in hospital, organisers said on Thursday in just the latest mishap to hit the competition.
Games organisers said they were still trying to identify the source of the outbreak, which forced one swimmer to miss an event on Wednesday and also affected a petanque player.
Few other details were released but Low Beng Choo, secretary of the Games’ sports and technical committee, said those affected had been asked not to compete until they recover.
“One went into hospital because we wanted to be very sure it was nothing very serious… it wasn’t as if it was an emergency. The rest of them are resting in the hotel,” said Low.
She added: “One of the swimmers missed an event. We asked him not to compete… in the interests of the athletes we have told the athletes not to compete.”
Low said those affected had breakfast in the team hotel, where Malaysia’s 800-plus contingent are staying, before dispersing to different venues. But she said the source of the outbreak was still under investigation.
The outbreak is not the first troublesome event at the biennial SEA Games, which has 11 nations competing in a diverse array of sports from swimming and athletics to pencak silat and wushu.
Organisers mistakenly printed Indonesia’s flag upside-down in a commemorative booklet, prompting protests and revenge hacking attacks by Indonesian activists.
Among a litany of transport incidents, eight people suffered minor injuries in a bus crash, forcing two squash players from Myanmar to pull out of their doubles matches.
Two Myanmar football fans were beaten up after a match against Malaysia, and the home fans were also condemned for chanting “Singapore dogs” during another game.
Indonesia’s women’s sepak takraw team walked out of a match in a protest over judging, and the men’s and women’s squash doubles finals had to be moved after the centre court surface was found to be too slippery.