Hanoi: Vietnam plans to postpone this year’s Southeast Asian Games, state media said on Wednesday as the country struggled with a new virus outbreak. The local Olympics will be held from November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi and 11 other venues – some of them in the epicenter of the fresh Covid-19 wave. But Vietnam apparently wants to move the 31st SEA Games to next year. According to the Vietnam News Agency, an online meeting was held on Wednesday between the Olympic Committees of the Nations to participate in the Games. “Due to the complicated pandemic situation in Vietnam and in the region, VOC (Vietnam Olympic Committee) has proposed that the SEA Games be postponed from 31 to July 2022,” the agency added. It is understood that the committees will speak again in two weeks before a final decision is made.
Virus cases have more than tripled in Vietnam since April to more than 9,000. Although the number is low compared to most of the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, the per capita vaccination rate in Vietnam is the lowest in the region and among the lowest in Asia, according to an AFP version. SEA Games events will take place in some of the worst-affected provinces, including Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, in the northeast of the country. One badminton ball in Bac Giang has been turned into a field hospital. Vietnam hosted the multisports competition earlier in 2003. The budget of about $ 69 million has been allocated for the Games. The state media is expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, including about 7,000 athletes, from 11 countries, according to the SEA Games. In addition to Olympic disciplines, sports are likely to include billiards and snooker, bodybuilding, chess, bowling and kurash, an ancient form of Uzbek wrestling.