Vietnam has withdrawn as the host of the 2019 Asian Games, saying it lacked funds and the country's reputation could be at risk if things did not go smoothly.
The government's initial decision to host the games had generated little excitement domestically, and there had increasing opposition in the media and on blogs.
Many questioned whether the cost - in the hundreds of millions of dollars - was worth it given the country was still struggling to emerge from the global financial crisis.
In a statement late Thursday, the government said hosting the event in Hanoi was unjustifiably expensive.
"Hosting this could help us promote the country's image and position but if the hosting is not properly and successfully prepared, it will have the opposite effect,'' the statement said.
"The state budget is limited and must be prioritised for other immediate tasks."
Randhir Singh, Secretary-General of the Olympic Council of Asia, said the organisation was 'surprised' and had not officially been informed of the decision. He said the body would now have to decide on who would host the games.
While the OCA will have to quickly decide on a replacement host, it does have the benefit of an extra year as Hanoi was to have been the first games of a new schedule that would put the event the year ahead of the Summer Olympics.