UAE denies Asian Games 2019 vote pull-out

Official rejects Olympic Council of Asia claim as Hanoi wins right to host sporting event
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 09 Nov 2012 09:48 AM

The UAE National Olympic Committee has denied reports that it withdrew an application to host the 2019 Asian Games.

The committee's first vice-president Yousuf Al Sarkal said in a statement that "in the first place, it had not applied for hosting the Games".

"The UAE's National Olympic Committee did not apply for hosting 2019 Asian Games and it only considered this. Therefore the news reports are baseless," Sarkal said.

His comments came after the Olympic Council of Asia announced that Hanoi in Vietnam had been chosen to host the 2019 edition.

In an earlier statement posted on its website, the OCA said that Dubai had pulled out of the bidding at the last minute but an update made no reference to the UAE's most populous city.

The OCA had said that Dubai, which regularly hosts top-level golf, cricket, tennis and horse racing events, preferred to concentrate on a future Games.

In July, The UAE said that it would likely bid for the 2024 Olympic Games after ruling out a bid for the event in 2020.

It confirmed that it will not enter a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games despite initially indicating it might.

While a feasibility study into Dubai's capability for hosting the Olympic Games concluded that as much of 70 percent of the infrastructure was already in place or planned, it was decided a bid would be better timed for 2024.

Hanoi, which hosted the 2003 Southeast Asian Games and the 2009 Asian Indoor Games, beat Indonesia's Surabaya for the right to stage the 18th edition of the event.

OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah announced the result at the governing body's general assembly in Macau in Thursday without revealing details of the voting.

Vietnam's bid was not without controversy, with some questioning the expense of hosting Asia's largest multi-sport event in what is still a relatively poor country.

Vietnam Olympic Committee chief Hoang Vinh Giang said they hoped to put on the event for between $150-$300m.

The 18th Games were originally scheduled to take place in 2018 but the OCA decided in 2009 to permanently shift the quadrennial event to the year before the Summer Olympics.

Guangzhou in Southern China hosted the 2010 edition, when nearly 10,000 athletes took part, and spent 122.6 billion yuan ($19.63 billion) on infrastructure, venues and operating costs.

The 17th version of the Games will take place in Incheon, South Korea in 2014.

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