ASEAN athletes and officials pose for a photo (Photo: asean.org)

Jakarta (VNA) – The ASEAN Secretariat hosted on November 30 a tribute and recognition ceremony for ASEAN athletes who competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Representatives from ASEAN Missions and partners such as Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and Brazil attended the event.

Olympians and paralympians from ASEAN member states won a total of 49 medals, half of which were secured in badminton, weightlifting and boccia.

In his welcome address, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee congratulated all medalists and hoped that the recent achievements continue to inspire future generations.

He noted sport brings people together, adding that “sport is also a powerful tool to attract, mobilise and inspire communities to promote social inclusion, development and citizenship and ultimately enhancing ASEAN Identity.”

Dato Ahmad Shapawi, Director General of the National Sport Council of Malaysia said, “We should honour our athletes for the pride and aspiration they brought to ASEAN during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“Sports play a big role in promoting unity, for a more successful ASEAN in the future,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of all ASEAN athletes, Hoang Xuan Vinh, Olympic gold medalist from Vietnam, said: “Each competition is an opportunity to have new friends. I believe that there will be more achievements in the future that can make us, ASEAN, stand out in the world.”-VNA