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SEAGF pushes SEA Games in May amid COVID-19

(Photo Caption: PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner and PH Team to Vietnam SEAG Chief of Mission Ramon Fernandez attend the first chef de mission online meeting for the Hanoi 31st Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday.)

ORGANIZERS of the Hanoi 31st Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee reaffirmed Vietnam’s hosting of the delayed games from May 12 to 25 following Tuesday’s first chef de mission meeting that was held online because of travel protocols wrought by the Covid-19 omicron variant spike early this month.

“It’s a Go. We just have to live with Omicron,” said Philippine Team Chief of Mission Ramon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez in his Facebook page.

“Pre-Games formalities and timelines were presented, as well as soft copies of the Games manual were distributed to the members,” added POC Chief Bambol Tolentino, as the countdown to the Games, originally scheduled from November 21 to December 2 last year, ticked at 114 days on Monday.

With the entry by numbers done last January 12, Tolentino said Hanoi set a February 12 distribution date and March 12 deadline for the submission of accreditation forms.

The deadline for the submission of entries by names, Tolentino added, is set for March 12, after which the chefs de mission will meet again, most likely face-to-face, on March 18.

The POC submitted a 627-athlete entry by numbers for the Games with Filipino athletes competing in 39 of the 40 sports on the Hanoi program.

The Philippines is not competing in xiangqi or Chinese or elephant chess but is fielding athletes in bodybuilding which is making a comeback in the SEA Games after getting scrapped because of rampant doping.

The medical and doping control handbooks, Tolentino said, are due one month before the opening ceremony on May 12, while the Accreditation Center in Hanoi will open on April 25.

Vietnam set a May schedule for the Games to give Cambodia enough window for its first-time hosting of the multi-sport competition in February 2023.

The Philippines is the reigning overall champion of the biennial Games following a successful hosting of the 30th edition in 2019.

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