Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam Postponed Due to COVID-19 Concerns

This year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the organizing council announced on July 8.

“The SEA Games Federation which met today agreed to postpone the organization of the 31st SEA Games 2021 to year 2022,” the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) announced.

The regional biennial multi-sports competition was due to be held from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 in Hanoi and 11 other locations, but Vietnam has been battling with fresh waves of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Hanoi on July 8 suspended transport links with at least 14 cities and provinces to curb the spread of the virus.

In Bac Giang, which is one of the provinces where a SEA Game event was set to take place, a badminton venue has been converted into a field hospital.

OCM said that the SEA Games Federation Council will determine the new date.

According to Thai Olympic Committee Deputy Secretary and SEA Games Council member Varin Tansuphasiri, Vietnam was proposing to host the event in April or May next year. However, he indicated that finding a suitable time in next year’s calendar would not be easy because “there’s already too many games next year,” citing the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The postponement came after Vietnam placed Ho Chi Minh City in a lockdown for two weeks in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, Vietnam has recorded 23,385 cases and 102 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

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