Vietnam’s hosting of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) is hanging in the balance with Covid-19 cases in the country on the rise once again.
According to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, the country will soon decide whether or not they would still continue with the hosting this year or move it to next year.
“The final decision will be known next week,” said Tolentino. “But it’s still the government of Vietnam that has the final decision.”
Majority of the SEAG Federation members, including the Philippines, had voted against the postponement of the event. However, Vietnam is having second thoughts about pushing through with the regional sports extravaganza, owing to the rise of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“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,” relayed Tolentino who explained his reasons for voting against the postponement of the event.
“It’s unfair to the athletes who have already sacrificed their time and effort in training for the SEA Games. Athletes are also preparing for the Asian Games, Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and Winter Olympics next year. So it’s very difficult for the SEA Games to be postponed,” shared Tolentino.
The country’s chef de mission, basketball legend and Philippine Sports Commission commissioner Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez, said he would respect whatever Vietnam comes up with.
“It’s okay with me and the PSC on whatever decision the host makes. If it’s going to be postponed, that will give us a longer time to prepare our athletes,” quipped Fernandez. “All our athletes will be vaccinated by then.” (JNP)