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Vietnam's proposal to postpone SEA Games opposed by most member states: Malaysian Olympic council

Vietnam's proposal to postpone SEA Games opposed by most member states: Malaysian Olympic council

Athletes carrying flags of ASEAN countries march during the closing ceremony of the SEA Games at the athletics stadium in Clark, Capas, Tarlac province, north of Manila on Dec 11, 2019. (File photo: AFP/Ted Aljibe)

SINGAPORE: Eight out of 11 member states of the Southeast Asian Games Federation have objected to Vietnam's proposal to postpone the competition over COVID-19 fears, according to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

The SEA Games Federation Office called a special meeting on Wednesday (Jun 9) to discuss the proposal, the OCM said in a statement.

Vietnam is due to host the biennial SEA Games from Nov 21 to Dec 2.

Earlier on Wednesday, Vietnamese media reported that the country had informed member states of its plans to postpone the Games to July 2022 due to the COVID-19 situation.

"Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the region, it is the wish of the Organising Committee of Vietnam to host the 31st edition of the SEA Games in a safe and secure manner," OCM's statement read.

Eight of the 11 member states objected to the postponement due to the "busy sports schedule" next year, said OCM.

"Additionally, many of the countries are already in the midst of preparations" for the Games, the statement read.

It added: "The SEA Games Federation Office will work closely with the Organising Committee of Vietnam in the next two weeks for a solution to be tabled to the SEA Games Federation Council for endorsement."

ESPN, quoting Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino, said Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste voted against postponement. The two yes votes came from Vietnam and Myanmar while Laos abstained. Tolentino said in the report that the final decision still lies with Vietnam.

CNA has sought comment from the SEA Games Federation Office, which is based in Bangkok.

READ: How safe will the Tokyo Olympics be for Team SG?

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) participated in Wednesday's meeting to discuss options for the 31st SEA Games, a spokesperson for the council told CNA.

"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," said the spokesperson.

READ: Vietnam begs public for 'vaccine fund' donations after COVID-19 surge

COVID-19 cases in Vietnam have spiked since the end of April to reach more than 9,500, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. New daily cases exceeded 200 on most days in the past week.

The country has recorded 55 deaths. Only 0.04 per cent of its population has been fully vaccinated, according to the compiled data.

Source: CNA/dv(ac)


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