Vietnamese officials quit Southeast Asian games after being accused of taking free rides

By Lam Thoa   July 14, 2017 | 05:34 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese officials quit Southeast Asian games after being accused of taking free rides
The Vietnamese delegation at a SEA Games event. Photo by VnExpress

Now the athletes have a sporting chance of doing their country proud.

Seven officials have withdrawn from Vietnam's delegation to the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur next month after widespread criticism that the team was packed with officials seeking a free vacation.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has also reduced the number of deputy heads it is taking from 10 to two, the limit set by the event, the biggest in Southeast Asia which is held every two years.

They include the chief finance officer from the ministry’s sports administration, and directors of the national sports training centers in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Can Tho.

The other two are communications officials, a source from the ministry said.

Tran Duc Phan, head of the Vietnam Sports Administration, will lead the delegation with two senior officials.

“It’s not fun at all to be a deputy head. They will have to work all day and sometimes have to skip meals,” Phan said, following questions of officials taking the places of more important people like athletes and coaches.

Some people have referred to Vietnam’s delegation to the Rio Olympics last August when 10 officials joined the 50-member team while some of the 23 athletes had to compete without their coaches, and there were only three team doctors.

Earlier this month, the ministry said it would be taking 693 people to the 29th SEA Games, including athletes, coaches, heads of sports and doctors.

That number is now down to 681.