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2021 SEA Games

POC one of eight nations voting against SEAG postponement

Eight of the 11 members of the Southeast Asian Games are against the possible postponement of the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

This despite the possibility of host Vietnam pulling the plug for its hosting this year due to the surge of coronavirus cases in the country.

The Philippines is one of the nations that hope that the games will push through as planned this November. The other seven are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste.

“The final decision will be known next week,” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Bambol Tolentino said.

“But it’s still the government of Vietnam that has the final decision.”

Though having relatively fewer cases compared to their Southeast Asian neighbors, Vietnam has struggled in acquiring vaccines.

A Straits Times report earlier said Vietnam has been relatively successful in dealing with the virus last year but is battling its worst outbreak with more than 5,600 cases being reported in 39 out of 63 provinces and cities since late April.

Some game venues are also being used as quarantine centers.

For his part, the POC voted against the moving of the games to mid-2020 as Team Pilipinas is already starting to train. Moreover, the government has already allotted P200-million for it.

“It’s unfair to the athletes who have already sacrificed their time and effort in training for the SEA Games,” Tolentino said.

“Athletes are also preparing for the Asian Games, Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and Winter Olympics next year. So it’s very difficult for the SEA Games to be postponed.”

On the other hand, Philippine Sports Commission commissioner and Team Pilipinas chef de mission Ramon Fernandez will have no qualms with whatever the decision of the Vietnam government is.

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“It’s okay with me and the PSC on whatever decision the host makes. If it’s going to be postponed, that will give us a longer time to prepare our athletes,” Fernandez said.

“All our athletes will be vaccinated by then.”

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