Organizers of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Vietnam announced on its website on Friday that the biennial multi-sport games postponed from last year will be held from May 12 to 23 next year.
The specific dates were posted on Vietnam’s national Olympic committee website and reported by Channel News Asia (CNA).
The Games will open three days after the Philippines holds its national elections on May 9, 2022, and according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, the majority of the athletes, coaches, and officials on Team Philippines would be unable to cast their votes.
“This is one of those sacrifices of having to represent the country in an international competition,” he said in a news release.
The POC has determined a 626-athlete delegation to the Vietnam games, which will be played in the Hanoi main hub.
“The main bulk of the delegation will be leaving for Vietnam no less than a week before the opening ceremony,” Tolentino said. “This is because our athletes need to acclimatize and get the feel of the competition venues, environment, and weather.”
It gets hot in Hanoi in May, with temperatures expected to reach 34 degrees Celsius.
Hanoi hosted the SEA Games for the first time in 2003 in a December schedule when the weather was wintry, with temperatures dropping to 11 degrees Celsius in the evening.
Vietnam originally scheduled the SEAG from November 21 to December 2 last year, but was forced to postpone it due to the pandemic.
Hanoi will be the main hub with 11 other sub-venues.
Vietnam, the ANC said, has allocated a budget of about USD69 million (PHP3.45 billion) for the games, which are expected to attract nearly 20,000 participants, 7,000 of them athletes from 11 countries.
“With the dates set, our athletes, through their national sports associations, could now specifically program their training and peak at the right time in May,” Tolentino said.
The Philippines will compete in 39 of the 40 sports on the Vietnam games program. (PR)