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 no decision was made.
A spokesman from the Singapore National Olympic Council told ST: “The SNOC participated in a SEA Games Federation meeting today to discuss options for the 31st SEA Games.
“The Vietnam NOC considered the NOCs’ feedback, as well as the congested major Games calendar in 2022.
“The Vietnam NOC will next continue discussions with their respective stakeholders on the available options. We await their updates on the outcome for the 31st SEA Games.”
The meeting was called after the Vietnam Olympic Committee flagged concerns over the viability of staging the biennial 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.
ESPN reported that a majority of the NOCs, including Singapore, had “voted against” the proposal to move the event to July 2022.
The date is problematic 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. The event is expected to feature 40 sports and over 10,000 athletes, officials and other participants.