VIETNAM organizers agreed that the Hanoi 31st Southeast Asian Games will open in mid-May next year.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino made the confirmation following Monday’s online SEA Games Federation meeting among the games’ 11 member countries.
The Vietnamese organizers, according to Tolentino, were amenable to any date for the opening ceremony in mid-May. The Cambodians, he said, took some convincing.
“Cambodia will host the 32nd edition in 2023 and they want to have at least a year’s window for them to prepare,” Tolentino said. “Initially, they wanted the opening ceremony to be on May 5 or earlier.”
Cambodia will host its first SEA Games and has set its opening ceremony on May 5, 2023.
“As the debate went on, I suggested for a May 12 opening ceremony, a Monday, stressing ‘what difference can one week make?” he said. “And they [Cambodians] agreed.”
The Hanoi SEA Games were originally scheduled from November 21 to December 2 this year, but Vietnam’s government postponed them because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Vietnamese organizers will confirm the specific dates soon,” Tolentino said.
There will be 40 sports but consisting of 520 events in Hanoi. There were 54 sports with 530 events in the 30th SEA Games which the country hosted and dominated in 2019.
The Hanoi SEA Games opening ceremony comes three days after the general elections and Tolentino said the Philippine delegation will fly to Vietnam in batches depending upon the events schedules.
The POC submitted a 626-athlete entry by numbers for the Hanoi Games. They will compete in 39 sports.
Among the SEA Games Federation members who attended the online meeting were Major General 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.