Hanoi Vietnam won the right to host the 2019 Asian Games, ahead of Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, and Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
The announcement was made at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in Macau on Thursday.
OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told a press conference, “the majority of the votes are for the city of Hanoi to hold the 2019 Asian Games”. He added, “we have trust in their leaders, the government of Vietnam, the city of Hanoi and the National Olympic Committee. Through my experience in sport and also in finance and the economy, Vietnam is always committed and delivers on its promises.
Sheikh Ahmad said Hanoi was capable of hosting such a big event in terms of finance, infrastructure, marketing and other aspects.
He said “the result was very tight”, but refused to divulge how the voting had gone.
Hoang Tuan Anh, Vietnam’s minister for sports, culture and tourism said, “we are so happy that we won. We will deliver a successful Games”.
Hoang Vinh Giang, an OCA vice president and a member of the Vietnamese Olympic Committee said, “this is the first time in our history that we have got the chance to host the second biggest multi-sports event next to the Olympics and we are delighted. The Vietnamese people are happy”.
He added, “we will be ready. We plan to host Games in Hanoi, in some provinces around Hanoi. Some games will even be in Ho Chi Minh City – the football”.
The Vietnamese government estimates the 18th Asian Games will cost about $150 million and require the construction of new sporting stadiums and an athletes’ village.
Hoang said, we will build new infrastructure. Not only for the Asian Games – the government has already approved a major development plan for Hanoi for the next 10 years. It will be big investment, big budget, new highways, new tunnels and so on”.
The Games were originally scheduled to take place in 2016 but the OCA decided in 2009 to permanently shift the quadrennial event to a year ahead of the Summer Olympics. They will now take place November/December 2019.
Hanoi will host 35 sports – the 28 core Olympic sports plus seven to reflect Asia’s sporting tradition.