It is likely that the 31st SEA Games, which is scheduled to take place from November 21 through December 2 in Vietnam, will be postponed because of developments of the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Vietnam planned to host the 31st Southeast Asian Games later this year. As many as 40 sports with 520 categories were expected to be held in the capital city of Hanoi and 11 other provinces and cities, including Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, Hai Duong, Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang and Phu Tho.
Vietnam successfully hosted the SEA Games in 2003, but this year it is a big challenge for the country to organize the region’s largest sports event as Covid is spreading in the country and the region.
The government has recently asked the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to submit the plan on SEA Games organization based on current conditions. After that, the government will consider whether the event will be held.
According to officials of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, there are many difficulties to organize this event.
In terms of expertise, athletes of member states are not practicing much, so the achievements will not be high. For advertising, it is also difficult to achieve the desired results.
The biggest problem is that about 20,000 people (coaches, athletes, officials, referees, medical staff, security officers...) are expected to attend the Games, not to mention the fans.
"The health subcommittee of the congress has not had any work, it is very difficult to come up with solutions to prevent the spread of Covid with tens of thousands of people, " a leader of the General Department of Sports and Sports said.
The 31st SEA Games organizing board is still conducting preparations. Specifically, sponsorship, marketing, communication, surveying of competition venues are still being conducted by the organizers while a decision is considered.
However, even if the 31st SEA Games is postponed, the organizers will have to set the time of resumption in 2022, when many big sports events will be held.
"We do not yet know if it is possible to hold the 31st SEA Games in March or June 2022, because we are not sure that at that time whether the vaccination rate in member countries will reach 60-70% of the population or not. At the end of 2022, Vietnam will organize the national sports games, while Cambodia will host the 32nd SEA Games in May 2023," said an official from the General Department of Sports and Physical Training.
Vietnam is slated to hold the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the 11th ASEAN Para Games 11 in November and December this year.