New Delhi: The much-delayed 12th South Asian Games to be held in Guwahati and Shillong will be postponed by a few months from the earlier December 10-20 schedule, the governing body of the regional multi-sporting event decided here on Wednesday.
At a meeting of the South Asian Sports Council (SASC) here today, attended by all the top brass of the National Olympic Committees of the eight countries of South Asia, it was decided that the Games should be postponed and be held next year around February.
"Not all the countries are happy with the December date of the Games. They feel that they need more preparation time. Moreover, they said December will be very cold in Shillong and it will not be conducive for competitions during that time," IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta told PTI.
"So, the South Asian Sports Council has decided to postpone these Games. It will most probably be held around February next year and a final date will be decided by the Organising Committee and the sports ministry," said Mehta, who is also secretary of SASC.
The Games will have at least 22 disciplines and a final decision on whether cricket will be included or not will be taken by the Organising Committee of the SAG in a meeting with Sports Ministry officials tomorrow.
Mehta said that some countries wanted cricket to be included in the regional multi-sporting event though the BCCI is reportedly not keen to send a team for these Games. In any case, even if cricket is included in these Games, it will be a Twenty20 contest among Under-19 players.
"Some countries wanted cricket to be included and they raised the issue at today's meeting that if possible, cricket should be included in these Games. The Organising Committee and Sports Ministry will take a decision tomorrow," he added.
The SAG, which may cost Rs 60 to 70 crore to the government, would see participation of around 2,500 athletes from the eight member-countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Games were to be held here in 2012 but they were postponed due to the Delhi elections that year and later ban of the IOA by the International Olympic Committee.
The last edition of the SAG was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010.