HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam will host the Asian Games (ASIAD) in 2019, announced the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) yesterday.
The capital city of Ha Noi was selected after Dubai in the United Arab Emirates pulled out at the last minute to leave Surabaya, the second biggest city in Indonesia as the only other contender to host the games.
The OCA's general assembly in Macau, China, yesterday also announced that Surabaya will host the 2021 Asian Youth Games.
It is hoped Viet Nam's success in winning the right to host the 18th ASIAD will provide a big boost to local sports.
"The OCA chose Ha Noi to host the Games and this is very good news for sports in Viet Nam," said Hoang Vinh Giang, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Olympic Committee.
"This will create a turning-point for the country's sports and help to achieve great advances in the area."
Viet Nam planned to spend US$150 million on staging the Games with $7 million earmarked for upgrades to My Dinh National Stadium and My Dinh National Sports Complex.
Besides locations in Ha Noi, Viet Nam will provide 14 other venues in HCM City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Hai Duong and elsewhere.
The 18th ASIAD is expected to draw 12,000 athletes from 45 nations, along with 1,000 international officials, 1,000 referees, 8,000 guides and up to 3,000 reporters.
It is the first time the continent's biggest sports event is being held in Viet Nam.
The country previously hosted the Asian Judo Championships (1996), Tiger Cup (1998 ), Asian Women's Volleyball Championship (2003 and 2009), Southeast Asian Games (2003), World Wushu Championships (2005), AFC Asian Cup (2007), Asian Indoor Games (2009) and AFF Suzuki Cup (2010).
This year Viet Nam hosted the Asian Taekwondo Championships, Asian Men's Cup Volleyball Championship, and the AFF Women's Championship, and is preparing to host the Asian Beach Games in 2016.
Initially, the 18th Asian Games were scheduled for 2018. However, at the OCA's general assembly in Singapore on July 3, 2009, the committee decided to move the Games so that they were held one year before the Summer Olympics.
The 16th ASIAD was held in Guangzhou, China, two years ago. The 17th edition will take place at Incheon, South Korea, in September, 2014. — VNS