|The idea of ASEAN nations joining hands to host the 31st SEA Games in the context of a complicated COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the noble spirit of sport and the solidarity of countries in the region. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn|
HÀ NỘI — According to Lim Teck Yin - CEO of Sport Singapore, ASEAN countries could co-host the SEA Games 31.
The event, scheduled to be hosted by Việt Nam this winter, is facing the risk of being cancelled or moved to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the beginning of 2019, Việt Nam has faced many difficulties organising the SEA Games 31, from the preparation of facilities to the training and coaching of athletes.
The threat posed by the pandemic is increasing due to new strains of the virus and all 12 localities hosting events have many COVID-19 infections, especially Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang provinces and Hà Nội.
Athlete training has also faced many difficulties as domestic tournaments have been interrupted or cancelled many times, affecting their performance.
The risk of infection is also great when Việt Nam will welcome about 10,000 athletes, coaches, referees, supervisors and members of Southeast Asian sports delegations.
Holding such an event in this context will also lead to restrictions on fans, which will also hurt the chances of the event being a success for Việt Nam and the region.
The Philippines had to cancel the ASEAN Para Games after the event was postponed at the beginning of 2020 due to the pandemic.
At a summit in Singapore held in May, Lim Teck Yin proposed holding the 31st SEA Games in several countries in Southeast Asia, instead of only taking place in Việt Nam.
Lim said Singapore is ready to partially support the organisation of the Games if required.
“We are ready to organise the event at the end of the year, if necessary,” Lim told The Straits Times newspaper.
“To decide whether to hold the event in one country or many countries, we will have to wait and see and there are still a few months left for us to work together.
“I hope that ASEAN will have a solution for the SEA Games this year,” he added.
Yin's idea has not been officially proposed to the Southeast Asian Games Federation - the organisation that decides on where and when the Games will be held.
A meeting of the heads of sports delegations from all countries participating in the 31st SEA Games will be held online on June 15 to discuss how to hold the Games.
As the host, Hà Nội and 11 neighbouring localities for the Games are still preparing for the events to be held on schedule.
The event was only interrupted once in 1963 (then called SEAP Games) when Cambodia was not eligible to host due to the domestic political situation.
Since then, the regional sports event has taken place every two years and been held in one host country.
Thailand and Malaysia have hosted the most SEA Games with six times. Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines have all held the event four times. Myanmar ranks third with three Games while Việt Nam, Brunei and Laos have only held it once. — VNS