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As Covid-19 Batters Region, Vietnam-Hosted SEA Games Postponed to July 2022

Despite early containment success, Southeast Asian countries facing the Delta variant are channeling resources to healthcare instead of sports.

VnExpress reports that the 31st SEA Games, which were scheduled to be held in Vietnam later this year, have been postponed to July 2022 due to Southeast Asia's rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation.

This decision was made official last Thursday, after the Vietnam Olympic Committee had proposed such a move on June 9. The Southeast Asian Games Federation made the postponement call along with the Olympic Committees of the involved countries. 

Vietnam is in the midst of by far its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began, with well over 20,000 cases of community infection detected since April 27, while Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are all battling serious infection waves as well.

In addition to concerns over the safety of fans, organizers would have also had to worry about 20,000 athletes, coaches, officials, referees and delegation staff, an impossible task given the regional outbreak, along with Vietnam's ongoing inbound travel restrictions.

The news source adds that this is just second time that the SEA Games won't take place in an odd-numbered year since their creation in 1959. In 1963, Cambodia was unable to host the event as planned due to political instability.

The games were set to take place from November 21 to December 2 this year in 12 localities hosting events in 40 sports. Vietnam placed second in the medal count in the last SEA Games, in 2019, behind only host country the Philippines.

[Image via Skor]