SEA Games: Looser restrictions await Team Philippines in Hanoi
MANILA, Philippines–Presenting a vaccination certificate against COVID-19 will no longer be necessary when Team Philippines goes for its overall title-retention drive in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino also shared that Vietnam organizers would permit athletes and coaches to visit restaurants, bars, shopping centers and tourist spots within their areas.
“Athletes and coaches will be confined to their respective areas and hotels for the duration of their stay, but can go around within the vicinity,’’ said Tolentino, adding that organizers will mobilize 3,000 volunteers to assist them.
Around 8,000 athletes from 11 countries will descend on Hanoi starting May 12 until May 23 with the host nation putting in place a unique set of health and safety protocols against the pandemic.
A total of 498 events—256 for men and 242 for women—in 40 sports will be played in the SEA Games that Vietnam will be staging for only the second time since 2003.
“Countries can also change an athlete or athletes who tested positive of the virus before the Games start, but not anymore when the competitions are ongoing,’’ said Tolentino.
“Football is exempted from the rule because it allows teams to have extra players,’’ added Tolentino.
Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission said the agency would fund the participation of 918 Filipino athletes, coaches, officials and support personnel to the Games.
Fernandez, designated the country’s chef de mission to the biennial sports meet, said there are actually 987 members of the Philippine delegation, including 646 athletes, 296 officials and 45 national Olympic committee delegates.
FANS IN ATTENDANCE
Fernandez said the agency will assist the self-funded members of the delegation in booking their flights and availing of tax exemptions. Fernandez added that the cost of airline tickets and travel insurance is US$1,100 each as of March 30.
On the presence of spectators in the Games, Tolentino said it would depend on the COVID situation in the area or cluster.
“If the figures are high, fans won’t be allowed in the venues. If they are low, then they’ll be allowed to watch the games,’’ said Tolentino.
Vietnam posted over 65,000 new cases on Sunday, now on a downward trend since hitting its peak of 353,965 infections on March 17.
Team Philippines, which ruled the 2019 edition of the Games it hosted in Manila, New Clark City and Subic, will fly to Hanoi in batches with the main bulk departing on May 10.