HANOI yesterday won the right to host the 2019 Asian Games, sparking celebrations among Vietnamese officials who said the decision would unlock millions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
The Vietnamese capital got the nod ahead of Indonesia's second biggest city of Surabaya and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the Olympic Council of Asia said after a meeting in the southern Chinese city of Macau.
"The majority of the votes are for the city of Hanoi to hold the 2019 Asian Games," OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told a press conference. "The leaders of the country, the sports groups of the country, we have trust that they will reach their commitment, and as a partner we will work very closely with them to bring the best Games ever in Asia."
Vietnam Olympic Committee Secretary General Hoang Vinh Giang expressed jubilation at the decision.
"We won! We won! We won! All our team is happy and pleased. All of Vietnam is happy for getting the games," he said.
"We will be ready. We plan to host Games in Hanoi, in some provinces around Hanoi. Some Games will even be in Ho Chi Minh City - the football."
The Vietnamese government estimates the 18th Asian Games will cost some US$150 million and require the construction of new sporting stadiums and an athletes' village.