Dear Viet Celts
I am happy to let you know that the Viet Celts bid for the 2011 South East Asian Games was successful.
Helen Fridell, ACB Secretary
These were the few simple words which came through at 7:03am on Tuesday 25 January, 2011 and led to scenes of jubilation and good-natured if boisterous celebration on the streets of Hanoi and Saigon.
With the Viet Celts’ successful bid for the 2011 South East Asian Games, Saigon will be used as a venue for the first time. The Viet Celts played host to the inaugural SEA tournament in 2008 which makes it our second time to organise the event. In 2008, Hanoi was the venue. The 2011 edition will take place on May 14.
Saigon is cheaper than a lot of South East Asian cities, convenient to get to for all competing teams, has excellent nightlife at affordable prices and has sporting facilities on a par with previous host cities. The sports complex at RMIT will be used for the games and it has been used very successfully for the equivalent tournaments in both rugby and Australian rules.
Last year in Jakarta at the SEA Gaelic Games, the winners of both the mens and womens competitions were Singapore and they will be favourites again this year to do the double. Orang Eire, Thailand and the Viet Celts have ambitions to knock them off their perch with last year’s surprise packets Jakarta sure to build on the excellent progress from 2010.
Another reason for having the tournament in Saigon is that we have strong hopes that it will be a catalyst to establishing a new club in Saigon. It is home to a large number of Irish expatriates and is yet to be fully integrated into Gaelic Games in the region. Solid work has already been done to set up the Saigon club by Brian O’Reilly and other hardy souls helped by our cousins at the Vietnam Swans AFL led by Phil Johns. Nguyen Minh Phuong and a number of other Gaelic tigresses have also been laying the foundations of a Saigon Ladies team.
This expansion of Gaelic Games in southern Vietnam would not only be good for the scene in Vietnam but also for all of South East Asia and might eventually open the door to Cambodia and Laos. The Viet Celts cannot wait to welcome the new Saigon team into the fold, that is until they beat us but we are well noted for our generosity when hosting a tournament.
The winning bid would not have been possible without the work of the proposal committee in particular Gareth O’Hara who did the major part of the work under the beady eyes of Colm Ross.
Continuing on from this Damien Cupitt and Aidan Dockery amongst others have done a lot of work with the logistics on the ground. The Ambassador, Maeve Collins and ‘Glamorous’ Bob Patterson were down in Saigon recently building up contacts for the event and had a very successful visit
We expect 150+ players at the tournament.
The Viet Celts