Making news

Vietnam gears up to host SEA Games 31

Vietnam is gearing up to host the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 31 next year.

An online meeting with the participating countries will take place on October 18 to know the number of athletes and members expected to attend the region's biggest sporting event.

This will be the basis for the organising board to have detailed plans, especially with the task of preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic during the Games.

“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Government allowed postponement of the 31st SEA Games to 2022. However, at present, the pandemic is still very complicated in many provinces and cities across the country," said Tran Duc Phan, deputy director of the National Sports Administration (NSA).

"This greatly affects our preparation process for the event.”

In order to ensure progress, health-related issues and pandemic prevention for the Games are very important. The NSA hopes to soon receive specific directions and guidance on appropriate pandemic prevention and control from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Phan said from now until the scheduled start of the event, all staff will be fully vaccinated and be granted a certificate of disease prevention.

Luong Ngoc Khue, deputy head of the Steering Committee for Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health (MoH), said the 31st SEA Games is an important international sporting event, bringing a large number of delegations from regional countries to Việt Nam.

This becomes a big challenge in pandemic control for the Health Subcommittee under the SEA Games 31’s Organising Board and the MoH.

Therefore, as soon as there is an official decision from the Government on the best time to organise the 31st Games, the ministry will immediately start directing specialised units to work out detailed and specific plans on pandemic prevention and control.

According to Khue, most of the sports are competitive competitions, with many involving direct contact, so the implementation of strict health rules is difficult to apply.

The committee needs to consider and refer to the COVID-19 prevention and control work carried out in other countries that have hosted sports events during the pandemic period for reference, such as Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics, football matches in World Cup qualifiers, to help the MoH develop appropriate plans.

He added that organisers can rely on the actual situation in Vietnam to consider a plan to hold sports competitions in the same place, limiting travel to other provinces.

In the future, the Health Subcommittee will issue a medical handbook with specific instructions including pandemic prevention, movement, and testing to delegations as well as the staff serving the Games.

The NSA will soon send an official dispatch to the Government, ministries, and agencies to set out regulations on vaccine passports to help subcommittees have specific directions which are suitable for the actual situation.

Vietnam is trying its system of facilities to prepare for the Games next year which includes 40 sports and 520 disciplines. Hanoi will be the main venue hosting the event alongside other localities such as Quang Ninh, Phu Tho and Bac Ninh.

Quang Ninh has a 5,000-seat multi-purpose gymnasium, an aquatic sports palace, a shooting range, an archery range, a stadium combined with an athletics field, a gymnasium for martial arts, and fencers, three beach volleyball courts, two beach sepak takraw courts, and two tennis courts.

The province is also upgrading its facilities to host seven sports including indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, beach handball, Chinese chess, international chess, triathlon, and women’s football.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Dao Cuong recently inspected the progress and quality of the works for the 31st Games at the Bac Ninh University of Sports, which will be the venue for the indoor handball competition.

He also checked progress being made at venues in Hanoi, including the National Training Sports Centre and My Dinh National Stadium./.