Potential cities to replace Hanoi as host of 2019 Asian Games slow to come forward

Friday, 18 April 2014
By Duncan Mackay

Hanoi celebrate being awarded the 2019 Asian Games but now have decided that they cannot afford to host the event ©OCA April 18 - Indonesia, beaten by Hanoi in the race to stage the 2019 Asian Games, are in no rush to put themselves forward as alternative hosts after the Vietnamese capital revealed that it was planning to withdraw because of economic problems.

Singapore has also ruled itself out as a potential alternative venue.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has decided that the country should pull out to avoid the country's reputation being damaged by poor preparations and because the money could be invested "in other very urgent tasks".

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) are refusing to comment until they are officially notified by Vietnam of the decision.

Hanoi were chosen to host the Games in November 2012 ahead of Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city. 

But the National Sports Committee of Indonesia (KONI) have dispelled hopes that they will automatically step in.

"We have to realise that budgeting to host such an event will be different by now," KONI chair and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Rita Subowo told Reuters.

"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."

Indonesia's second biggest city Surabaya was beaten in the race to host the 2019 Asian Games but are unsure about whether they want to step in now Hanoi has withdrawn ©AFP/Getty ImagesIndonesia's second biggest city Surabaya was beaten in the race to host the 2019 Asian Games but are unsure about whether they want to step in now Hanoi has withdrawn
©AFP/Getty Images

Ser Miang Ng, vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, has also claimed that they would not be interested in staging the Games, even though a new state-of-the-art Singapore Sports Hub is due to open shortly and will host the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2015.

"We are putting all our resources and energy to ensure a successful SEA Games," the former IOC vice-president told Reuters.

"A bid for 2019 Asian Games is not on the cards at the moment.

"With the process of selecting a city and preparing the city for the [2019] Games, time is of essence as we are only five years away."

Ng refused to criticise Vietnam for its decision to withdraw from hosting the Asian Games.

"While I am surprised, I can understand completely," he told Reuters.

This year's Asian Games are due to be held in Incheon, South Korea, before there is a five-gap until the next edition.

In 2009, the OCA voted to shift the quadrennial event to the year before the Summer Olympics.

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz

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April 2014: Vietnam to pull out of hosting 2019 Asian Games in Hanoi
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November 2012: Hanoi awarded 2019 Asian Games
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