MALAYSIA: 18 January 2021 will be remembered as a historical date to the ASEAN university sports. Firstly, it was two month-shy prior to the 1st anniversary when the COVID-19 pandemic spread all over Malaysia and the first movement control order was announced nationwide which later followed by other respective members’ countries, and secondly, it was the day for AUSC members to decide on the fate of the 20th ASEAN University Games (AUG) 2021 organised by University Sports Board of Thailand (USBT).
AUSC President, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd. Rushdan Mohd. Jailani chaired the significant virtual 28th AUSC meeting on the biennial AUG. After a lengthy deliberation of two and a half hours, the meeting came to a consensus that all agreed to postpone the Games to the year 2022.
As planned earlier, the Games’ initial date was in December 2020 and was rescheduled to 18-27 June 2021. The new date of the 20thAUG is on 23rd to 30th June 2022 in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.
The decision was made after the Council was convinced on the current situation of the pandemic in Thailand and all Asean countries. The decision was based on the expert views by the Thailand Medical team and Anti-Doping Sub-Committee Chairman and his team, Dr. Alongkone Pengsavanh from Lao PDR and Associate Prof. Dr. Abdul Halim Mokhtar from Malaysia. This decision was also based on the condition of the logistic and health situation of the athletes, officials and even the spectators involved in the 20th AUG. The meeting was also presented by the host university, Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University (UBRU) Vice Rector, Prof. Dr. Phassakon Nuntapanich and Associate Prof. Dr. Amnat Yousukh, the Chief Medical Officer of the 20th AUG.
The meeting was rejoiced by the decision made as this will provide adequate time for all National University Sports Federation (NUSF) to be well-prepared. This will be the opportunity to all NUSF to reset and re-strategise all training programme towards the upcoming Games in 2022.
It will be a 4-year hiatus since the last AUG, that was organised in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in 2018. This gap year was once precedent way back in 1998-2001 during the global economic crisis, which was hosted, coincidently, also by Thailand in the new millennium.
To date, thirty (30) sports will be offered in the 20th edition of AUG and will be hosted at the UBRU sports complex. The venue too, will be the candidate city of the 33rd SEA Games in 2025. The Technical Sub Committee lead by Lawrenz Sim Chee Soon from Singapore, will conduct a special meeting to review on the eligibility of the athletes for 20th AUG 2022.
Meanwhile, for the 2021 sports activities, AUSC Secretariat plan to organise Youth Sports Leadership Programme and offer NUSF to host the in-trend virtual sports for the student-athletes well-being,respectively.
AUSC Secretary General, Roestam Effendi Sijar, in his closing report also thanked the Indonesia University Sports Council (IUSC) for their understanding and true spirit of sportsmanship in allowing Thailand to host the 20th Asean University Games. AUSC and IUSC will work closely on the possibility to organise ASEAN University Championships (AUC) in the year 2023. This great gesture was indeed a mark of sports solidarity of the ASEAN university sports!
ASEAN University Sports Council