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Amid Asiad worries, a more costly event looms large

Amid Asiad worries, a more costly event looms large

Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 16:52 GMT+7

The Mekong Delta province of An Giang is seeking permission to use an astronomical VND3.425 trillion or US$164.6 million from state funds to host the 2018 National Sports Tournament. This amount is even higher that the dreaded $150 million estimate to host 2019 Asiad the next year. Vietnam in early November won the bid to host Asiad but immediately after the news was announced, the public began to protest that the $150 million needed to host such an international event is beyond the country’s reach and that the sum should be channeled into other more critical projects. However, under a new plan approved by the People’s Council of An Giang province, some VND3.28 trillion will be sourced from state coffers of provincial and central governments to build new sporting venues to serve the 2018 National Sports Tournament, a local event. The facilities for the country’s largest multi-sport event so far include a 25,000-seat stadium worth VND950 billion, a 1,000-seat swimming pool (VND200 billion), and a VND150-billion stadium for track cycling, among others. Moreover, as competitions for 15 sports will be organized in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring localities of Can Tho, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, and Kien Giang, An Giang province demanded that the government upgrade and construct more traffic infrastructure connecting it with the said provinces and cities. The cash-swallowing plan, independent of the already worrying Asiad project, was developed on the ground that An Giang is always in the top 10 teams at the National Sports Tournament, according to Nguyen Van Len, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. “An Giang has many athletes playing for the national teams, and have gained a number of domestic and international trophies,” he said. “But the province suffers a severe lack of sporting facilities to develop high-performance sports.” Len said the people’s committee will work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism on the plan before submitting the official proposal to the government. Ho Viet Hiep, deputy chairman of the people’s committee, said the constructions of the sporting facilities will not affect investment in education and health care. “After the 2018 national tournament, the facilities will be used to serve the 2019 Asiad,” he said. The 2019 Asiad, meanwhile, will mainly be held in Hanoi and several northern localities while the said national event will take place in the south.

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