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Kaohsiung to assess plan for 2019 Asian Games bid: official

2014/04/21 19:14:32

The closing ceremony of the 2009 World Game in Kaohsiung.

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Kaohsiung expressed possible interest Monday in making a bid to host the 2019 Asian Games after Hanoi announced last week that it was withdrawing as host because of the prohibitive cost of staging the event.

Chen Wu-hsiung, the head of the city's Department of Sports, said during a city council meeting that it will assess a plan to bid for the 2019 Asian Games, which it expects will take about one month.

Chen was responding a call by Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Hsin-yu for the city to make a play for the event.

Vietnam's prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, said on April 17 that Hanoi could not host the Asian Games because the state budget was limited and had to meet more pressing needs.

Last month, the Vietnamese government pegged the cost of holding the event at about US$150 million.

Chen Hsin-yu proposed that Kaohsiung should join hands with Tainan and Pingtung County to demonstrate the strength of the three local governments in southern Taiwan and host the regional sports event.

She said Kaoshiung lost out to Taipei as the country's candidate to bid for the 2019 Asian Games in 2010, but Taipei later decided against the idea in favor of a successful bid to host the 2017 Summer Universiade.

Hanoi and Surabaya, Indonesia, were the only two cities that eventually sought to host the event, with Hanoi being chosen as host in 2012.

Initial reports after Hanoi's withdrawal cited Indonesia as the early favorite to replace Vietnam as the host, but the Indonesian government said it still have some questions about cost that have to be answered.

The city councilor said Kaohsiung hosted the 2009 World Games, and contended that the city has an outstanding stadium and abundant experience in hosting international sporting events.

Chen Wu-hsiung agreed that Kaohsiung had the facilities and experience needed to stage the event, but he said it would be up to the central government to decide whether the country submits a bid.

Taipei is preparing to host the 2017 Universiade and might also be a logical candidate to put up a bid because many of the necessary facilities would already be in place, but Taipei City government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang said the city had no interest in the idea.

A New Taipei official said the city won the right to host the 2016 International Children's Games and will continue to pursue bids to host the 2020 Asian Beach Games and the 2023 Asian Games.

Taichung said it will bid to host the 2019 Asian Youth Games but not the 2019 Asian Games.

Meanwhile, Tainan and Taoyuan said that they will carry out thorough assessments to determine if making a bid makes sense. (Wang Shwu-fen and Evelyn Kao)