KUALA LUMPUR – Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria is not very keen regarding the proposal to postpone this year’s 31st edition of the SEA Games to next year.
He said this was because many major multi-sport Games would be held next year, including the Beijing Winter Olympic Games (Feb 4-20), Birmingham Commonwealth Games (July 28-Aug 8) and Hangzhou Asian Games (Sept 10-25).
Besides, next year will also see Malaysian athletes competing in the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey in August and the postponed 2021 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Bangkok-Chonburi (March 10-20).
“Our athletes are now preparing for the Vietnam SEA Games to be held at the end of the year. I think it is not possible to prepare our athletes to peak for two Games at the same time, let alone three or four Games.
“The SEA Games is a big event for ASEAN but will be overshadowed by other Games, while Brunei and Singapore will be also preparing for the Commonwealth Games. We will discuss this at our board meeting first,” he told Bernama when contacted.
Norza also confirmed that Vietnam had requested all the participating National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to gather feedback and opinions on the proposal to postpone the biennial Games to next year.
“They want to postpone it because of the spike in COVID-19 cases, especially in northern Vietnam, where a lot of renovations for the SEA Games facilities have been delayed. So, the SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) will be having an online meeting on Wednesday to gather feedback from all the NOCs,” he said.
According to reports from a Vietnamese news portal, Vietnam Net, the Nov 21-Dec 2 SEA Games in Hanoi might be postponed to March or June next year due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.
It came less than a month after the host had confirmed during the SEAGF virtual meeting on May 18 that the 31st SEA Games would be held as scheduled. The virtual meeting also saw Cambodia announcing that the 32nd edition would be held in Phnom Penh from May 5-16, 2023.
Vietnam, set to host the SEA Games for the second time after the 2003 edition, have listed 520 events from 40 sports for this year’s Games.