OCA in hunt for new venue for '19 Asiad

Move afoot after Vietnam back out as Games' hosts

A high ranking official from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) agreed on Friday that it was right on Vietnam’s part to withdraw from hosting the 18th Asian Games in 2019.

OCA Director General and Technical Director Husain Al Musallam said in an email to Xinhua that “OCA has been aware about it for a long time. This is the best what Vietnam can do now based on the current situation at this moment.”

He continued, “Vietnam is making good efforts for 2016 Asian Beach Games which will be a great success.”

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced on Thursday the country’s withdrawal from hosting the 18th Asian Games citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event for the first time would not prove financially viable.
Hanoi, capital city of Vietnam, won the right to host the games Nov 8, 2012 by beating its only rival, Indonesia’s Surabaya city.

Meanwhile in Singapore, IOC vice-president Ng Ser Miang said the OCA must move fast to find a replacement city to host the Games but ruled out his homeland Singapore as an option.


Wealthy Singapore will host the much smaller SEA Games in 2015 for 11 Southeast Asian countries in their soon to open $1 billion sports hub, which includes a 55,000 seat stadium, and 6,000 capacity aquatics centre, but were not seeking any extra work load at short notice.

"With the process of selecting a city and preparing the city for the Games, time is of essence as we are only five years away," Ng said in a statement sent to Reuters.
"We are putting all our resources and energy to ensure a successful SEA Games. A bid for 2019 Asian Games is not on the cards at the moment."

Indonesian Olympic officials also voiced concerns about the likely increased price 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 told Reuters via telephone.
"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."

India, which has hosted the Asian Games twice, are still reeling from the cost and scandal surrounding their somewhat chaotic hosting of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi where preparations were heavily criticised.

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.

It will be held in Incheon, South Korea this year after China hosted the last edition and wealthy Qatar before them in 2006.

Although Vietnam's $155 billion economy is in recovery and annual growth of more than five percent is expected in the next few years, it faces many deep-rooted problems, including weak infrastructure, one of Asia's highest levels of bad debt and a state sector mired in graft and inefficiency.

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