By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The 31st Southeast Asian Games will be held in mid-May 2022, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino disclosed Monday.
The development came after officials from 11 member nations convened online on the same day with host Vietnam agreeing to the calendar window.
No specific date has been set yet, but Tolentino said Vietnamese organizers will announce the dates soon.
Cambodia, which would be hosting the 32nd edition slated in 2023, had to be convinced for the agreed calendar window.
“They (Cambodia) want to have at least a year’s window for them to prepare,” Tolentino said.
Initially, Cambodia wanted the opening ceremony of the 2023 edition to be held on May 5, but agreed to a different date.
“As the debate went on, I suggested a May 12 opening ceremony, a Monday, stressing ‘what difference can one week make?” he said. “And they (Cambodians) agreed.”
The 31st SEAG was originally scheduled from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 this year but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Although it has been pushed to a later date, next year’s biennial meet will still have 40 sports consisting of 520 events.
The POC has already submitted the country’s entry by number of 626 athletes to compete in 39 sports.
Among the SEA Games Federation members who attended the online meeting were Major General Charouck Arirachakaran, Dr. Varin Tansuphasiri, Professor Charoen Wattanasin, Dato Seri Chaiyapak Siriwat and Thana Chaiprasit of Thailand, Dato Norza Zakaria and Dato Nazifudin of Malaysia, Ferry Kono of Indonesia, Chris Chan of Singapore and Tran Van Manh of Vietnam.