The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is hoping that Vietnam will still push through with the 31st Southeast Asian Games in November.
Vietnam is already contemplating to postpone the regional games to next year as the country continues to fight off a new virus outbreak.
But eight of the 11 SEA Games Federation members — Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste — voted against the postponement during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
The host and Myanmar voted for postponement, while Laos abstained.
“The final decision will be known next week,” POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said. “But it’s still the government of Vietnam that has the final decision.”
He added that even the host country is reluctant to postpone the biennial games because of the investments it has already made.
“The hosts are also reluctant to postpone the Games because all their structures and venues are already complete. But the pandemic has raised the alarm,” Tolentino said.
The POC president opposed the postponement as Filipino athletes already made preparations to defend the SEA Games overall championship.
The Philippines crowned itself as the overall champion in the 30th edition of the Games.
“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.”
The Asian Games is scheduled from September 10 to 25 in Hangzhou, China, while the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is slated on March 10 to 20 in Bangkok and Chonburi in Thailand.
Meanwhile, Beijing is hosting the Winter Olympics from February 4 to 20.
FROM THE ARCHIVES