THE 30th Southeast Asian Games will be deferred for next year after Vietnam decided to postpone its hosting of the biennial meet.
The formal announcement was made on Thursday after a virtual SEA Games Federation Council meeting attended by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino.
The rising cases of COVID-19 in Vietnam has been a concern for the host that it decided not to push through with the November 21 to December 3 multi-sports meet.
"The SEA Games Federation unanimously decided not to hold the SEA Games this year due to COVID-19 in the region,” said Tolentino in a virtual media conference.
No new schedule yet
The SEA Games Federation Council will now determine when in 2022 the event will be held as it left Vietnam to decide on the matter.
Tolentino said the SEAGFC helped the host take a stand on the issue.
“Actually hindi makapag-decide ang Vietnam. So tinulungan na namin,” he said.
Team PH chef de mission Ramon Fernandez added the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) board will sit down and meet with Tolentino by next week to discuss the training of the various national teams.
“Public safety really was the priority, I believe, in their decision,” said Fernandez, also a PSC commissioner, who joined Tolentino in the same media conference along with POC secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes and Team PH chef de mission to the Tokyo Olympics Nonong Araneta.
“We’ll just have to find out first when the dates will be, and then we will go back to the drawing boards and talk to the NSAs on the minimum number of months they need to train for the event. We’ll play it by ear at this point.”
Tolentino said the SEA Games postponement indeed, will give Filipino athletes time to prepare better in their bid to retain the overall title.
“Makakapag-practice tayo ng husto. Mas makakapag-handa tayo,” said the POC chief.
The SEA Games however, cannot be held at around February since it will be winter season in Vietnam.
“Hindi puwedeng mag-February ang SEA Games sa Vietnam. Winter sa kanila, yun sobrang lamig,” according to Tolentino.
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