By AFP, published by Channel NewsAsia
Hanoi – Vietnam plans to postpone this year’s Southeast Asian Games, state media said on today (June 9), as the country grapples with a new virus outbreak.
The regional Olympics are due to be held in Hanoi and 11 other locations – some of them at the epicentre of the fresh Covid-19 wave – from Nov 21 to Dec 2.
But Vietnam reportedly wants to move the 31st SEA Games to next year.
“The Vietnam Olympics Committee, the host for SEA Games 31, has sent a letter to countries informing them of its proposal to postpone SEA Games 31 to July 2022 due to the complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic,” according to Phap Luat Online.
The SEA Games Council, based in Bangkok, were to meet today to make a decision, it added.
The Vietnam Olympics Committee confirmed to AFP that a meeting would take place today.
Virus cases have more than tripled in Vietnam since April to more than 9,000. Although the number is low in comparison to most of its Southeast Asian neighbours, 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 about US$69 million for the Games.
The SEA Games are expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, including about 7,000 athletes, from 11 countries, according to state media.
As well as Olympic disciplines, sports are likely to include billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, chess, bowling and kurash, an ancient form of Uzbek wrestling.
Top: Vietnam last hosted the SEA Games in 2003. Photo: AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam and published by CNA