Indonesia & 7 other Countries Reject the Plan to Postpone SEA Games

Vietnam plans to postpone the 2021 SEA Games until next year due to a spike in Covid-19 cases. The 2021 SEA Games are scheduled to take place from November 21 to December 2, 2021 in Hanoi and 11 other cities.

Some of these cities have become the epicenter of a new wave of Covid-19 cases in Vietnam. Therefore, the Vietnam Olympic Committee proposed that the 2021 SEA Games be postponed until mid-2022.

“Due to the complicated pandemic situation in Vietnam and in the region, the Vietnam Olympic Committee suggested postponing the SEA Games until July 31, 2022,” the Vietnamese media said in a statement. Vietnam’s proposal to postpone the 2021 SEA Games was also rejected by seven participating countries. One of them is Indonesia.

Indonesia’s refusal was conveyed by the General Chairperson of the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI), Raja Sapta Oktohari, in the SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) Working Meeting which took place virtually on Wednesday (9/6/2021). “We object if the 31st SEA Games is postponed to 2022 because this year’s SEA Games budget has been allocated and there must be accountability,” said Raja Sapta Oktohari. “If it is postponed to 2022, there is no submission for next year’s budget. In addition, the delay will result in the next SEA Games in Cambodia in 2023 being only one year apart,” added Okto.

The postponement of the SEA Games until 2022 could make the sports multievent calendar even more congested. “All athletes, coaches, and Indonesian officials have been vaccinated and there are still five months to make the Hanoi SEA Games happen on time,” said Okto. “The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are also still on schedule and we can adopt health protocols to be applied during the SEA Games. If the host faces difficulties, we think all ASEAN countries will certainly help each other,” he said.

Besides Indonesia, six other countries that refused to postpone the 2021 SEA Games were Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Meanwhile, Myanmar agreed to postpone the SEA Games. Laos and Timor Leste are to follow whatever decision the SEAGF makes.

Responding to the refusal of the majority of SEAGF participating countries, the Vietnam Olympic Committee also asked for time to discuss with the local government to determine the fate of the 2021 SEA Games. SEAGF decided to hold a follow-up meeting on June 24, 2021.

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