Sports

S'pore only focused on SEA Games

IOC's Ng rules out Republic stepping in as host of 2019 Asian Games

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) must move fast to find a replacement city to host the 2019 Asian Games, International Olympic Committee's (IOC) finance commission chair Ng Ser Miang said yesterday.

But Singaporean Ng ruled out his homeland as an option.

Vietnam's government announced its surprise decision to quit as hosts of the event in its capital Hanoi on Thursday, citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event for the first time would not prove financially viable.

Singapore will host the much smaller 11-nation South-east Asia Games next year and, in a couple of months' time, the country will open a spectacular $1.3 billion Sports Hub, which includes a state-of-the-art 55,000-capacity National Stadium and 6,000-seater aquatics centre, among other facilities

However the Republic is not seeking any extra workload at short notice.

"With the process of selecting a city and preparing the city for the Games, time is of the essence as we are only five years away," Ng said, in a statement.

"We are putting all our resources and energy to ensure a successful SEA Games. A bid for the 2019 Asian Games is not on the cards at the moment."

Hanoi was awarded the Games in November 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya but the cost of hosting the event, which economists have estimated could be as high as US$500 million ($626m), has become an issue.

REBIDDING

Indonesian Olympic officials also voiced concerns about the likely increased costs when asked if they were interested in rebidding.

"We have to realise that budgeting to host such an event will be different by now," Indonesia Olympic Committee chairperson Rita Subowo said.

"The government of Indonesia may be ready to take over, but what about the hosting city?

"We are happy that Surabaya is the hosting city of the 2021 Asian Youth Games, but we will discuss about 2019."

The Asian Games, which was held for the first time in 1951, has grown to consist of around 40 sports with athletes from 45 countries taking part, putting pressure on host nations to build infrastructure and accommodation as well as stadiums.

Held once every four years, the 17th edition of the Games will be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19 to Oct 4, after China hosted the last one in 2010 and wealthy Qatar before them in 2006.

The OCA said yesterday it was still waiting for official confirmation from Vietnam of its withdrawal and would not discuss potential replacements before receiving it. - Reuters.


We are putting all our resources and energy to ensure a successful (2015) SEA Games. A bid for the 2019 Asian Games is not on the cards at the moment.

— International Olympic Committee’s finance commission chair Ng Ser Miang on why Singapore will be steering clear of being Asian Games 2019 host

BY THE NUMBERS

$626m

Estimated cost of hosting the Asian Games.