Asian Games replacement host needed fast, but not Singapore: Ng Ser Miang

Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:06pm EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Olympic Council of Asia must move fast to find a replacement city to host the 2019 Asian Games, International Olympic Committee Vice President Ng Ser Miang told Reuters on Friday, but ruled out his suitable Singapore homeland as an option.

Vietnam's government announced their surprise decision on Thursday to quit as hosts of the event in their capital Hanoi, citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event for the first time would not prove financially viable.

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 center, 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."

Hanoi was awarded the Games in November 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya but the cost of hosting the event, which economists have estimated could be as high as $500 million, was an issue.

Indonesian Olympic officials also voiced concerns about the likely increased price when asked if they were interested in rebidding.

"We have to realize that budgeting to host such an event will be different by now," Indonesia Olympic Committee chairperson Rita Subowo told Reuters via telephone.   Continued...

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and First Vice President Ser Miang Ng attends a news conference to announce a bid for the IOC presidency at the Sorbonne in Paris May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier