SEA Games 31: A successful event illustrating regional solidarity and friendship

The 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) was held successfully with Vietnam’s preparation and organisation for the event winning much praise from participating sports delegations.

At the closing ceremony of SEA Games 31 (Photo: NDO/Thanh Dat)
At the closing ceremony of SEA Games 31 (Photo: NDO/Thanh Dat)

Vietnam wrapped up their SEA Games 31 run at the top of the medal table with 205 golds, 125 silvers, and 126 bronze medals. The hosts broke the record of 194 golds set by Indonesia at the 1997 SEA Games in Jakarta.

Themed ‘For a Stronger Southeast Asia’, SEA Games 31 not only helped Vietnam to promote itself as a safe, friendly and hospitable country but also illustrated regional solidarity and friendship.

Vietnam's successful organisation of the Games demonstrated the country’s prestige and responsibility in the development of sports throughout the region. International friends highly appreciated Vietnam’s innovations in hosting the event in a professional, safe, fair and objective manner while promoting the sportsmanship spirit.

Ramon Fernandez, Head of the Philippine sports delegation to SEA Games 31 hailed that the host country Vietnam has been very open and made every effort to create a fair game. Vietnam has helped raise the level of SEA Games by including Olympic sports in the regional event, he added.

During the 17-day event, Vietnamese people left a deep impression on participating athletes and reporters thanks for their love of sports and hospitality.

From Hanoi, the main venue of the SEA Games 31, to other cities and provinces such as Nam Dinh, Quang Ninh, Ha Nam, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, and Bac Giang, gymnasiums and stadiums were always full of audiences, who came to cheer Vietnamese and foreign athletes, even at the events without Vietnamese athletes competing.

SEA Games 31: A successful event illustrating regional solidarity and friendship  ảnh 1

SEA Games 31 conveyed a strong message to friends from all countries in the region about the love for sports, friendliness and hospitality of the Vietnamese people. (Photo: NDO/Thanh Dat)

Nuanphan Lamsam, nicknamed “Madam Pang” - manager of Thailand's football teams, shared with the press her feelings after witnessing thousands of Vietnamese fans flocking to the stadium to watch the U23 Thailand - U23 Indonesia, she was impressed with the atmosphere of excitement. She conveyed her thanks to the Vietnamese people for their friendliness and hospitality.

True to the spirit of the SEA Games ‘We win as one’, the SEA Games 31 witnessed many touching stories about friendship, solidarity and sportsmanship within the ASEAN community which has overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually brought life back to normal.

That spirit could be seen through the image of thousands of Vietnamese fans waving the flag of Laos to cheer for their U23 team during their matches, the image of Madam Pang and the Thai football team walking around Thien Truong Stadium in Nam Dinh province after the match to thank the Vietnamese spectators; the image of runner Felisberto De Deus, who went into the history of Timor-Leste by winning two silver medals in the men’s 5,000m and 10,000m competitions, holding the Vietnamese flag after his victory thanking the Vietnamese audience. These images represented the beautiful symbol of friendship and solidarity.

It was also very touching to see a Singaporean female athlete join Vietnamese doctors to help Vietnamese runner Dinh Thi Bich who fell and was injured on the running track at the women’s 800m event at My Dinh Stadium.

There were also many other similar images recorded at SEA Games 31. Antara, an Indonesian news agency, hailed the SEA Games 31 in Vietnam as evidence that sports connect every person in Southeast Asia.