News / Asia

‘Sports Mad’ Vietnam Surprises With Decision Not to Host Asian Games

The Incheon Asiad Main Stadium is being built for the 17th Asian Games to be held in Incheon from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, 2014. Vietnam has decided not to host the  2019 Asian Games.
The Incheon Asiad Main Stadium is being built for the 17th Asian Games to be held in Incheon from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, 2014. Vietnam has decided not to host the 2019 Asian Games.
Marianne Brown
Last week, the Vietnamese government surprised many with its decision not to host the 2019 Asian Games.

Despite being ranked a not-so-lofty 116 in the FIFA World Ranking Table, Vietnamese fans at any big soccer match can attest to high enthusiasm when it comes to supporting their country in international events.

Soccer tends to rouse the most fervor, with the logos of top teams like Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona often emblazoned on motorbikes, helmets and clothing. But other sports, like badminton and martial arts, are popular, too.

That is why the government’s decision not to host the Asian Games in 2019 came as a surprise to many observers, including Vietnam expert Professor Carl Thayer from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

"This is a country that likes to be a centerpiece, that is sports mad," Thayer said. "It just surprised me because usually Vietnam uses these opportunities to showcase itself."

Many challenges

The reaction from inside the country, however, suggests that many saw it coming.

In a statement released late Thursday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam did not have enough experience at hosting large sporting events, and was also facing socio-economic difficulties.

Hosting an international sporting event can "contribute to socio-economic development, promoting the country’s images and increasing its position," the statement said. But if the event is not a success, "the effects will be reversed.”

Hanoi won the bid to host the games in 2012, beating the Indonesian city of Surabaya. However, the anticipated costs were criticized by the public amid concerns for the country’s economic growth rate, which at 5 percent annually has been hampered by inefficient state enterprises and a beleaguered banking system.

The costs of hosting the event were estimated at $150 million, according to local media reports. But some put the price tag much higher.

The move prompted some speculation that Vietnam was wary of bad publicity following Russia’s experience hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Thayer said he does not think this was likely.

"Who apart from a handful of people would be worried about the expense? High speed rail, that’s an expense that the PM loses," he said. "But the Asian Games - it would be circuses for the masses."

Hoang Quoc Vinh, director of international cooperation at the Viet Nam Sports Administration, said in an email to VOA that the Vietnamese government has invested a lot in this area, especially in encouraging young talent.

He said it was a “pity” Vietnam is not hosting the Asian Games and described the feeling like “when a football is about to go into the net but suddenly changes its direction and finally lands outside the net.”

However, he said the faith and thirst for championship always stays inside sports people, adding, “I believe that Vietnamese sports will have many opportunities to win in the future.”

Lacking popular support

The news has been generally welcomed inside Vietnam. Economist Nguyen Quang A called the move a “brave decision”.

"The government admitted the decision to host the event was made too quickly," he said. "While the country risks losing face by backing out now, the situation would have been much worse if it had gone ahead and held the games."

The Vietnamese media was positive about the move. Newspaper Tuoi Tre wrote: “Many Vietnamese people have hailed Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s decision to withdraw Hanoi as host of the 2019 Asian Games.”

Before the decision was announced, the newspaper said it held a survey on whether Vietnam should host the games. Of more than 13,600 respondents, 84 percent did not support the idea.  

Reports quoting officials at the Olympics Council of Asia said a decision on who would host the event  instead of Vietnam in 2019 would be made at the next Asia Games, which is to be held in Incheon, South Korea, in September and October.

Two other countries have dropped out of hosting the games, South Korea in 1970 and Pakistan in 1978.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid