SEA Games in Vietnam postponed due to increase in COVID-19 cases


SINGAPORE: This year’s Southeast Asian Games scheduled to take place in Vietnam have been postponed until 2022.

“The SEA Games Federation working committee met today and it has been decided that the SEA Games will not be held this year,” Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said Thursday (July 8th). .

READ: Vietnam’s proposal to postpone SEA Games opposed by most member states: Malaysian Olympic Council

The biennial event was scheduled to take place in Hanoi and 11 other locations from November 21 to December 2.

Vietnam’s National Olympic Committee will explore new dates to consider, SNOC added.

“SNOC will adjust the selection policy accordingly to reflect the new dates once details are confirmed,” he said, referring to the selection of Singapore athletes for the Games.

READ: Vietnam orders COVID-19 lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City

Thailand’s Olympic Committee Deputy Secretary Varin Tansuphasiri said the SEA Games will not (certainly be) this year as scheduled in November.

“Vietnam wants to postpone the Games until next year, 2022,” said Tansuphasiri, who is also a member of the Games Council.

The postponement was due to the pandemic, he said, with Vietnam offering to host the Games in April or May of next year.

The Malaysian Olympic Council also issued a statement confirming the postponement. He said the SEA Games Federation met on Thursday and agreed to move the Games until 2022.

He added that members “welcomed the work done so far by (Vietnam) but took note of the current (COVID-19) conditions” there.

SPORTS CALENDAR PILE-UP

It was reported last month that eight of the 11 member states of the SEA Games Federation had opposed Vietnam’s proposal to postpone the competition over concerns over next year’s “busy sporting schedule”.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told reporters on Thursday that authorities had recommended “postponing the organization of the 31st SEA Games to a more appropriate date.”

But Tansuphasiri said it is not easy to find a suitable time in next year’s sporting calendar.

“There are already too many games next year,” he said, citing the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 and the Commonwealth Games in July next year.

“There will be a bit (of) problems for Vietnam to host in 2022.”

COVID-19 LOCKOUT IN VIETNAM

Vietnam announced on Wednesday that nine million people in Ho Chi Minh City would be locked up for two weeks in the early hours of Friday.

Hanoi, which was to be the focus of the SEA Games, had fewer cases but on Thursday suspended transport links with at least 14 cities and provinces to fight the spread of the virus.

Clusters of the virus appeared across the country, including in the northern industrial provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, where the Games’ events were due to take place.

The country has recorded nearly 23,500 infections and 105 deaths.

Before this epidemic, which began at the end of April, less than 3,000 cases had been recorded in Vietnam.

A badminton site in Bac Giang has been transformed into a field hospital.

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