Vietnam withdraws from hosting 2019 Asian Games

Thanh Nien News

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A Vietnamese delegation at a recent regional sporting event. PHOTO: NGO NGUYEN
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung withdrew Vietnam's bid to host the 18th Asian Games (Asiad) at a meeting with relevant agencies on Thursday.
“Vietnam is not experienced in hosting major sporting events like Asiad," he said. "We're not prepared to host the 18th Asiad."
Dung said the Politburo, the Party’s Secretariat and the Government have a policy of only participating in major regional and worldwide sporting events at a time that's right for the development of Vietnam's athletes and social-economy.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Hanoi People’s Committee bid and won the right to host the 2019 games without developing a plan to ensure the successful organization, Dung said.
The PM expressed Vietnam's gratitude to the Olympic Council of Asia for supporting the country's developing sports programs, he said adding that the successful organization of a major sporting events would promote the country's image and its socio-economic growth.
“However, not organizing it carefully and successfully will bring the opposite effects.”
Due to the ongoing impacts of the global economic downturn, Vietnam’s socio-economy is suffering many difficulties and its limited state exchequer must be prioritized for urgent projects, he said.
The estimated revenues from hosting Asiad wouldn't begin to cover the costs of organizing the event and building the necessary infrastructure, he said.
The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hanoi People’s Committee to work with OCA and relevant sides to withdraw the nation's offer to host the event.
Vietnam will bid again at the right time, he said.
In June 2011, Vietnam announced plans to compete for hosting the 2019 Asian Games and won in November 2012.
The continent-wide sporting event is expected to attract 12,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories to compete in 35 different sports.
At the time, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism estimated it would US$150 million, far less than previous Asiad hosts had spent on the games.
Critics pointed out that the actual costs would be much higher and beyond Vietnam's ability to afford them.

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