Vietnam postpones SEA Games until next year (state media)

HANOOI: Vietnam plans to postpone this year’s Southeast Asian Games, state media said on Wednesday, as the country grapples with a new outbreak of the virus.

The Regional Olympics are scheduled to be held in Hanoi and 11 other venues – some of them at the epicenter of the new wave of Covid-19 – from November 21 to December 2.

But Vietnam would like to move the 31st SEA Games to next year.

“The Vietnam Olympic Committee, host of the SEA Games 31, sent a letter to countries informing them of its proposal to postpone the SEA Games 31 to July 2022 due to the complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic”, according to Phap Luat Online.

The Bangkok-based SEA Games Council will meet on Wednesday to make a decision, he added.

The Vietnamese Olympic Committee has confirmed AFP that a meeting would take place on Wednesday.

Cases of the virus have more than tripled in Vietnam since April to more than 9,000. Although this number is low compared to most of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, the vaccination rate per capita in Vietnam is lowest in the region and among the lowest in Asia, according to a AFP pointing.

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

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

Vietnam already hosted the multi-sport competition in 2003. It has allocated a budget of around 69 million US dollars (284 million RM) for the games.

The SEA Games are expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, including around 7,000 athletes, from 11 countries, according to official media.

In addition to the Olympic disciplines, sports are likely to include billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, chess, bowling, and kurash, an ancient form of Uzbek wrestling. – AFP

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