Vietnam SEA Games postponed to 2022 over Covid-19 concerns

SINGAPORE – The Nov 21-Dec 2 South-east Asia Games will be postponed to 2022.

After the SEA Games Federation working committee met on Thursday (July 8), the Singapore National Olympic Council issued a statement to say that “it was decided that the SEA Games will not be held this year. The Vietnam NOC will explore new dates for consideration”. 

It added that “the SNOC will adjust the selection policy accordingly to reflect the new dates once the details are confirmed”.

There had been speculation that this year’s SEA Games would be rescheduled as the Vietnam Olympic Committee flagged concerns over the viability of staging the biennial Games this year with the region battling a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent months. The 40-sport meet was to feature over 10,000 athletes, coaches and other participants.

Vietnam, which last hosted the Games in 2003, reportedly set aside a budget of US$69 million (S$91.3 million) to stage the competition. 

While it had reportedly introduced a “no vaccine, no participation” policy for this year’s Games, the number of cases in the country has increased by almost 10 times since March to more than 23,000.

Vietnamese news publication Phap Luat Online reported that the Vietnam Olympic Committee had sent a letter to its regional counterparts proposing the postponement of this year’s edition to July 2022 “due to the complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But ESPN reported that a majority of the national Olympic committees, including Singapore’s, had “voted against” the proposal to move the event to July 2022.

The July date is problematic for countries like Singapore and Malaysia as the higher-profile Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are set for July 28-Aug 8, and next year’s sporting calendar is also packed with other major multi-sport events including the Winter Olympics in Beijing (February) and Asian Games in Hangzhou (September).

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