9th July, Hanoi: The 31st edition of the Southeast Asian Games, originally scheduled to take place at the end of this year in Hanoi, Vietnam, has been postponed amid rising COVID-19 cases.
The SEA Games Federation met on Thursday and agreed to move the Games to 2022. This was announced to the media by Chaipak Siriwat, COO of the Bangkok-based SEA Games Federation, yesterday.
After an online meeting, Chaipak revealed that the decision was taken by 10 members of the federation, keeping in view the latest wave of Covid-19 pandemic sweeping through the Southeast Asian region. The Games were scheduled to take place from Nov 21 to Dec 2 this year.
A foreign media report added that Vietnam was likely to host the biennial tournament in April or May next year, as suggested by the SEAGF members.
Chaipak, who chaired yesterday's meeting, added that the Vietnam's representative sought another 10 days to confirm his country's ability to host the Games on the scheduled dates. However, a vote was called and all ten nations, with the exception of the host country, voted in favour of postponing the event to next year.
Last month, Vietnam had proposed to the federation to delay the Games as the country grappled with a new virus outbreak. The regional edition of Olympics were due to be held in Hanoi and 11 other locations -- some of them being the epicentre of the fresh Covid-19 wave.
Some of the SEA Games events were due to take place in badly affected provinces including Bac Ninh and Bac Giang in the country's northeast. The badminton venue in Bac Giang has been turned into a field hospital, reports said. Vietnam previously hosted the multisport 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, 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.
Source: Bangkok Post.