Uncertainty leaves national athletes hanging in the balance as Vietnam was given a week to decide on whether or not it would push with the hosting of the 31st Southeast Asian Games scheduled late November.
All but two member countries refused with Vietnam’s proposal to delay the meet including the Philippines following Wednesday’s virtual meeting. Other nations that disagreed with the postponement were Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.
Myanmar agreed with Vietnam to move the SEAG to a later date while Laos abstained.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez said there is a disadvantage in delaying the SEAG, but reiterated that he respects whatever the decision Vietnam would make.
“(There would be) frustration of our athletes, but we fully understand if the SEAG is postponed,” Ramirez said.
Training preparations of national athletes have been delayed for months to almost a year due to restrictions brought by the pandemic. Some national teams have been in bubble training, while others are scheduled to start next month.
The news of possible postponement also came weeks after the government started inoculating athletes as part of Vietnam’s “no vaccination, no participation” policy at the SEAG.
In the end, Ramirez said the decision is for the benefit of everyone participating in the meet.
“The safety of our athletes and the people of Vietnam is more important and must be our primary concern,” he said.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino, meanwhile, said there are no other options regarding the proposal other than to postpone or push through with the meet.