Laos’ SEA Games Preparation Committee, under the
chairmanship of Standing Deputy Prime Minister Somsavad Lengsavath, confirms
that the construction of the new stadium outside the capital city of Vientiane is
progressing on schedule and expected to be completed by the deadline of the 25th
Southeast Asian Games that Laos is hosting in December 2009, although the
country is facing many challenges. The
Committee is confident of the on-time completion because the stadium is being built and funded by Chinese companies in exchange for a 1,600-hectare piece of land in the
Thatluang marshland. The stadium, currently about 45% completed, will be able to accommodate over
25,000 spectators. Located in Saythani district on route 13 South, it will be
the main venue for the games as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
In addition to Chinese assistance, Laos is also receiving
helps from Thailand and Vietnam in constructing or upgrading other necessary
facilities and accommodations for the 25th SEA Games. For instance, Thailand is upgrading the
existing stadium in the capital to be used as venues for soccer and tracks and
fields instead of the ones in Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Champasack which
Laos had originally planned to use as secondary stadiums. Similarly, Vietnam is building residences for
athletes and sports delegations in the perimeter of the National University at
Dongdok at an estimated total cost of US$19 million, of which US$4 million is a
grant, while the rest is provided as a long-term loan. Upon completion, this residential project
will be able to accommodate over 4,000 athletes who will participate in the
competition in twenty five sports events.
Moreover, to prepare themselves as hosts of this largest
regional sports event, Lao officials are putting great efforts in developing their
human resources and upgrading their personnel to international standards. Trainings
are being provided to over 400 referees to upgrade their skills. A large number
of physicians are also receiving trainings, not only on how to take care
of athletes and their delegations and address any health concerns that may
arise, but also to test for steroids, according to a member of Laos’ SEA Games
Preparation Committee, who adds that food is also an area of concerns that has to be addressed in order
to prevent communicating diseases.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.