SEA Games: Philippines confirmed as 2019 hosts after Brunei, Vietnam decline

Athletes walking into the National Stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2015 SEA Games, on June 16, 2015.
Athletes walking into the National Stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2015 SEA Games, on June 16, 2015.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines has agreed to host the 2019 SEA Games after the two other countries next in line, Brunei and Vietnam, declined, a sports official said on Sunday.

This was agreed upon during a SEA Games Federation executive meeting in Singapore in June when Brunei, which was scheduled for the 2019 edition, asked to pass due to "organisational reasons," said Joey Romasanta, spokesman of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Vietnam, the 2021 hosts, also declined so the federation offered the event to the Philippines, he told AFP.

The federation must still issue a formal invitation to the Philippines which the country must accept but in principle, the Philippines is assured of being the venue, Romasanta said.

The cash-strapped country is not likely to build new facilities but will use existing arenas, stadiums and hotels for the Games, he added.

One request is that all the sports be accessible by land unlike the last Games in the country in 2005, when some sporting events were held in the central islands.

The sprawling, former US airbase of Clark, north of Manila, which has been turned into a light industrial zone and tourism centre, will likely serve as the base of the Games but some events will be held elsewhere.

"All we need is a state-of-the-art track oval. We can work on that," Romasanta remarked.