Vietnam given until next month to decide on fate of 31st SEA Games

Vietnam should decide by October the fate of the 31st Southeast Asian Games it is tasked to host, the SEA Games Federation said.

The development was announced by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham N. Tolentino on Monday, sharing that the consensus to give a deadline for Vietnam’s decision as host was reached among members in an online meeting last Friday.

“The consensus was for Vietnam to make a decision [by October], otherwise, the 31st SEA Games would be cancelled,” Mr. Tolentino said in a statement.

Hanoi was scheduled to host the biennial regional sporting meet in December this year but moved to defer it to next year because of the still-unsteady situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It, however, has yet to decide when next year the event will take place

Mr. Tolentino said the federation suggested having it staged late May 2022, seeing it as the most convenient and logical in light of an expected busy year for sports for all 11 member countries.

“There are three major Asian and two international competitions in 2022. That leaves Vietnam a very small window to hold the SEA Games,” said Mr. Tolentino.

The Thailand Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games are scheduled from March 10 to 20, the Hangzhou Asian Games from Sept. 10 to 25, and the Shantou Asian Youth Games from Dec. 20 to 28.

The Beijing Winter Olympics is set from Feb. 4 to 20 and the International Olympic Committee-sanctioned World Games is from July 7 to 22 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

“All these five competitions are major events, they are staged once every four years,” the POC chief underscored.

“Cambodia, the host of the 32nd SEA Games, decided to hold the competitions in February 2023, after the Chinese New Year for that year. And that’s the reason why Vietnam could only have until the latter part of May to host,” he added. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo