SEA Games: Status of Hanoi Games still undecided after federation meeting

SINGAPORE – Despite widespread media reports that the Nov 21-Dec 2 SEA Games in Hanoi will be postponed to 2022, Vietnam has yet to pull the plug on the biennial competition.

The SEA Games Federation held a meeting involving the region’s 11 National Olympic Committees on Wednesday (June 9) to discuss the status of the year-end event, but The Straits Times understands that no decision was made.

Sources told ST after the meeting that Vietnam will hold discussions with internal stakeholders to determine the outcome of the competition, which will feature 40 sports and see over 10,000 athletes, officials and other participants gather in Hanoi.

The meeting was called after the Vietnam Olympic Committee flagged concerns over the viability of staging the Games this year as the region battles a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Vietnamese news publication Phap Luat Online reported that the Vietnam Olympic Committee had sent a letter proposing the postponement of this year’s edition SEA Games to July 2022 “due to the complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic” prior to Wednesday’s meeting.

If that date comes to pass, it could potentially create a dilemma for countries like Singapore and Malaysia as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are set for July 28-Aug 8 .

Other major multi-sport events that are taking place next year include the Winter Olympics in Beijing (February) and Asian Games in Hangzhou (September).

Vietnam, which last hosted the competition in 2003, had introduced a “no vaccine, no participation” policy for this year’s Games and reportedly set aside a budget of US$69 million (S$91.3 million) for the competition.

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