Sports

Vietnam SEAG in May will have 40 sports, 520 events


FILE – POC president Bambol Tolentino. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Pressed to stage the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), Vietnam organizers made the commitment on Monday to open the 11-nation sports fest not later than the middle of May next year.

Though no exact schedule was announced during the online meeting of the SEAG Federation, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino said Vietnamese organizers were amenable to any date for the opening ceremony in mid-May.

It was an agreement reached after the body talked to the next host, Cambodia, to relent on having the Vietnam edition staged on May 5—exactly a year before the Cambodians host the 2023 version.

“The Cambodians wanted to have at least a year’s window for them to prepare,’’ said Tolentino. “They initially wanted the opening ceremony to be on May 5 or earlier.’’

Hosting the SEA Games for the first time, Cambodia will hold the 2023 edition in Phnom Penh.

Originally set from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 this year, the Vietnam SEA Games in Hanoi was shelved by its government due to the raging COVID-19 health crisis in the region.

“The Vietnamese organizers will confirm the specific dates soon,’’ said Tolentino.

Calendared in the Hanoi Games are 40 sports, including 520 events.

Team Philippines is the defending overall champion after dominating the 30th SEA Games in 2019, where 54 sports were played with 530 gold medals given away.

Tolentino explained the Philippine delegation will fly to Vietnam in batches depending on the schedule of events since the proposed opening ceremony schedule would come three days after the national elections on May 9, 2022.

Also in attendance during the online SEAG Federation gathering were Maj. Gen.Charouck Arirachakaran, Dr. Varin Tansuphasiri, professor Charoen Wattanasin, Dato Seri Chaiyapak Siriwat and Thana Chaiprasit of Thailand, Dato Norza Zakaria and Dato Nazifudin of Malaysia, Ferry Kono of Indonesia, Chris Chan of Singapore and Tran Van Manh of Vietnam.

The POC earlier forwarded to Vietnam an entry by number of 626 athletes from 39 sports. INQ

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