Vietnam to decide on fate of SEA Games next week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9)— Vietnam will decide by next week whether to push through with the 31st Southeast Asian Games slated in November.

“The final decision will be known next week,” Philippine Olympic Committee President Bambol Tolentino said in a statement. “But it’s still the government of Vietnam that has the final decision.”

Eight of the 11 SEA Games Federation members — including the Philippines — voted against the postponement of the biennial meet during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

The other countries that pushed for an on-time SEA Games schedule were Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste. Vietnam and Myanmar opted for postponement, while Laos abstained.

According to Tolentino, Vietnam had cited the rise in COVID-19 cases as the reason to postpone the regional games.

“The hosts are also reluctant to postpone the Games because all their structures and venues are already complete. But the pandemic has raised the alarm,” Tolentino said.

The Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee earlier said it would impose a “no vaccination, no participation" policy for the sports meet, scheduled from November 21 to December 2. This prompted the Philippine government to prioritize the inoculation of athletes — bound for both the SEA Games and the Tokyo Olympics.