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Vietnam proposes to put off SEA Games 31 until next year

Jasmine Le Jasmine Le

lehang1997hanu@gmail.com

June 10, 2021 | 09:46

The Vietnam Olympic Committee has proposed organizing the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in July 2022 instead of this November and December as the country grapples with complicated Covid development.

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Hanoi's countdown event for 31st SEA Games scheduled to take place next month Hanoi's countdown event for 31st SEA Games scheduled to take place next month
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Vietnam proposes to put off SEA Games 31 until next year
Lay Tray stadium in Hai Phong city is scheduled to play host to a number of football matches of the 31st SEA Games. (Photo: VOV)

The committee made the suggestion during an online meeting with representatives of the Olympic committees of the participating nations and the Southeast Asian Sports Federation Office on June 9, VNA reported.

The region’s biggest sporting event was slated for November 21 to December 2, but as COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in many countries, the committee called for delaying the biennial event until next year.

The pandemic has also made it difficult for athletes and their coaches across the region to prepare for the Games.

In addition, sports officials said they want to study more about how to hold such an event amid the pandemic, particularly by referring to the example of the Tokyo Olympic Games slated for this summer.

The representatives of the national Olympic committees will report the proposal to higher authorities in their home countries and then reconvene to decide together on how to hold the 31st edition of the Games within two weeks.

The final decision will be made by the Southeast Asian Sports Council.

Vietnam proposes to put off SEA Games 31 until next year
Vietnam last hosted the SEA Games in 2003 (Photo: AFP)

Virus cases have more than tripled in Vietnam since April to over 9,000. Although the number is low in comparison to most of its Southeast Asian neighbors, Vietnam's vaccination rate per capita is the lowest in the region and among the lowest in Asia, according to an AFP tally.

SEA Games events are due to take place in some of the worst affected provinces including Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, in the country's northeast.

One badminton venue in Bac Giang has been turned into a field hospital.

Vietnam previously hosted the multisports competition in 2003. It has allocated a budget of around $69 million for the Games.

The SEA Games are expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, including about 7,000 athletes, from 11 countries, as reported by AFP.

As well as Olympic disciplines, sports are likely to include billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, chess, bowling and kurash, an ancient form of Uzbek wrestling.

Hanoi and 11 neighbouring localities have been preparing to host the SEA Games 31 competitions with 40 sports and some 10,000 people coming to Vietnam as part of sporting delegations or as spectators.

Vietnam last held the event in 2003, the first year it undertook hosting duties.

Vietnam proposes to put off SEA Games 31 until next year
Up to 80% of Japanese public want to delay or cancel the Games (Photo: Shutterstock)

Last week, big Japanese sponsors of the Tokyo Olympics are calling privately for the Games to be postponed for several months so more spectators can attend as businesses fret over the value of their marketing campaigns.

The proposal was made to organizers by some sponsors in recent weeks amid growing frustration among 47 Japanese companies that collectively paid more than $3bn to back the Games, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The Games are set to be the most heavily sponsored sporting event in history, but opinion polls show as much as 80% of Japanese people want the Olympics canceled or postponed, according to Financial Times.

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Jasmine Le