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(The 31st SEA Games closing ceremony was held at the My Dinh Indoor Athletics Arena. Photo Credit: SNOC/ Kelly Wong)

 

By May Chen

Over a 90-minute ceremony that featured song, dance and spectacular lights, the 31st edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games came to an end at the My Dinh Indoor Athletics Arena in Hanoi on Monday (May 23). 

The closing ceremony was a far more muted affair, compared to the fanfare of the opening ceremony 11 days earlier. But it was no less poignant or short on meaning. 
Mass performances were accompanied by stunning visual effects, a showcase that sought to embody the theme of “Coming Together to Shine”.

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(The 31st SEA Games closing ceremony was held at the My Dinh Indoor Athletics Arena. Photo Credit: SNOC/ Kelly Wong)

 

The visual effects, in particular, was a larger-than-life display made up of indoor LED screens specially installed for the event, in an endeavour to be the “biggest and most modern indoor stage in Vietnam” yet.

With most athletes already safely home, Team Singapore was represented by officials at the closing ceremony. The 424 who competed flew Singapore’s flag high in Hanoi, finishing with a final haul of 47 gold, 46 silvers and 71 bronze medals. 

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(Singapore's Assistant Chef de mission (CDM) Asmah Hanim accepting the award on behalf of Quah Jing Wen. Photo Credit: SNOC/ Kelly Wong)

 

TeamSG Swimmer Quah Jing Wen was named as one of the four best athletes at these Games, alongside Vietnamese runner Nguyen Thi Oanh, Vietnamese swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang, Thai runner Joshua Atkinson. Quah has the best haul among the four, with six golds and a bronze from the Hanoi Games. 

Singapore finished 5th in the overall standings, just 3 gold medals shy of fourth-placed Philippines. 

Over more than two years, a virus deprived athletes all over the world of competition and barred fans from stadiums. The degree to which so many have craved the return of sport was on full display in Hanoi and the 11 neighbouring provinces that staged events.

Not only was these Games the first that many of Singapore’s athletes have competed in since the Covid-19 pandemic began - for many, it was also the first competition since the pandemic began that gave them the luxury of competing with spectators in the stands. 

Hanoi’s residents showed up in full force – at times content to just squeeze elbow to elbow outside full stadiums – and proved to be hospitable, raucous and supportive hosts. 

Swimmers, in particular, nodded to the “electrifying” atmosphere that accompanied their every stroke in the My Dinh Water Sports Palace. 

In the TeamSG Games review on 22 May, team officials said Singapore’s athletes met internal expectations. There were several memorable performances for the books, including track athlete Shanti Pereira’s record-breaking 200m sprint, swimmer Maximilian Ang’s historic win in the 200m breaststroke, and several other examples of the nation’s sporting best doing their utmost for country.

Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh declared the Games closed, followed by an emotional video montage that featured several of the most moving moments of the Hanoi SEA Games, before the cauldron flame was slowly extinguished. 

But, the end of one Games also means the start of the lead-up the next  and the region need not wait long.

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(The SEA Games Federation flag being passed to Cambodia, who are hosts of the next edition in 2023. Photo Credit: SNOC/ Kelly Wong)


The SEA Games Federation flag was passed from Vietnam to Cambodia, hosts of the next edition in just a year’s time in Phnom Penh. The baton will be passed to Thailand and Malaysia for the 2025 and 2027 Games respectively. And in 2029, Singapore will get the chance to compete in front of a home crowd again, when the Lion City plays host for the 5th time. 

Cảm ơn, (Thank you) Hanoi – see you in Cambodia!

 

For Team Singapore's coverage and news in Hanoi, follow Team Singapore on their social media channels (FacebookInstagramTikTok) or visit the official Team Singapore website.

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