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‘No vaccine, no participation’ policy enforced in Hanoi SEA Games

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 04:06 PM May 19, 2021
Athletes at the 30th Southeast Asian Games closing ceremony.

FILE –Athletes at the 30th Southeast Asian Games closing ceremony. INQUIRER PHOTO/MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — National athletes and coaches who are not inoculated against COVID-19 will be denied participation in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi set from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2, Vietnamese organizers declared Tuesday.

According to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino, the Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee announced a “no vaccine, no participation” policy during an online SEA Games Federation meeting on Tuesday.

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“Their policy is for the good of everyone,” said Tolentino.

“Most of the athletes from our Southeast Asian counterparts are already vaccinated and we’re the only country that is left behind,” he added. “But we already wrote the IATF to prioritize the SEA Games-bound delegates. We’re ready to take any vaccine [brand].”

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Tolentino also said the organizers assured the regional showcase will push through despite the ongoing pandemic.

The POC, which has a $40,000 (P1.9 million) grant from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for the purchase of the vaccines, is looking at sending 626 athletes to the SEA Games.

POC vice president Al Panlilio, who’s in charge of the national athletes’ vaccination, vowed that the entire Philippine delegation would be inoculated as soon as the jabs are available.

So far, Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes Eumir Felix Marcial and Hidilyn Diaz have already been vaccinated.

The National Sports Associations (NSA) have already been instructed to identify the athletes who will be given priority for the vaccination program, as per Tolentino.

“Before we fly to Vietnam, everyone should be vaccinated,” Tolentino said. “Or better yet, before the NSAs start training their athletes face-to-face.”

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