📝 OP-ED: SEA Games 31 a safe, fair, impressive festival for all hinh anh 1

Hanoi (VNA) – The 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), whose curtain will officially drop on May 23 night, has been regarded as a success, leaving good impressions on both domestic spectators and foreign guests.

Themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”, it has been held in Hanoi and 11 neighbouring cities and provinces.

It features 40 sports with 523 competitions, attracting around 10,000 participants. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The success of the Games has proven Vietnam as a safe and friendly destination although the pandemic is still ravaging the world.  
After combating the pandemic for two years, Vietnam has shifted from the “zero COVID” target to safely and flexibly adapting to and effectively controlling the COVID-19, which has been seen as a turning point in its pandemic fight.

Armed with good vaccine supply, the country is confident with the new strategy. As of May 14, two days after the opening of the regional sport event, Vietnam had administered nearly 217 million doses on its residents.

Vietnam’s resolve in organising SEA Games and its efforts to ensure safety for the event have been lauded by international media.

📝 OP-ED: SEA Games 31 a safe, fair, impressive festival for all hinh anh 2Vietnamese runner Nguyen Thi Oanh has established her name as one of the stars of SEA Games 31. (Photo: VNA)

According to an article on news.yahoo.com, despite the pandemic, SEA Games 31 - the largest sports event in the region - has been taking place with the thrills, all the pageantry and determination of the participating sports delegations.

The article said many sports tournaments had to be postponed or even canceled in the past two years because of the pandemic. SEA Games 31 also faced a similar risk. However, the host country Vietnam has been doing all its best to ensure that the event take place safely but still with a strong sports spirit.

The Straits Times of Singapore also said the SEA Games returned to Vietnam for the first time in almost 20 years with a dazzling light show and spectacular pyrotechnics witnessed by more than 20,000 spectators in packed My Dinh Stadium.

Like many Asian nations, Vietnam – which last hosted the Games in 2003 – is taking confident strides towards returning to normalcy, according to the article.

The scene of spectators packing the stands at SEA Games competitions has reflected their optimism and confidence in the pandemic prevention and control measures taken by the government.

Among the 40 sports at SEA Games 31, 25 are Olympic ones, 12 played at the Asian Games, and three Southeast Asian games. It has been seen as one of the fairest SEA Games so far as host Vietnam has included all sports in the tournament, not just those of its own strength.   

📝 OP-ED: SEA Games 31 a safe, fair, impressive festival for all hinh anh 3A boxing match at SEA Games 31 (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam’s fair-play spirit is expected to help reform organisation methods for other regional sport games, improving their quality and making them keep up with continental and international tournaments.

Speaking at a conference reviewing the organisation of SEA Games 31 on May 21, Le Thi Hoang Yen, Deputy Head of the Sports Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said foreign sport delegations have expressed their satisfaction with Vietnam’s organisation work.

New record, big stride of Vietnam’s sport

Vietnam have wrapped up their SEA Games 31 run at the top of the medal table with 205 golds, including the much-anticipated one in the men’s football claimed on May 22 night.

The hosts broke the record of 194 golds set by Indonesia at the 1997 SEA Games in Jakarta. Thailand came second with 92 golds and Indonesia third with 69.

📝 OP-ED: SEA Games 31 a safe, fair, impressive festival for all hinh anh 4Vietnam have wrapped up their SEA Games 31 run at the top of the medal table with 205 golds. (Photo: VNA)

The gold medals have not only brought Vietnam to the top spot but also reflected their outstanding progress.

Vietnam’s athletics and swimming teams hauled in important medals at SEA Games 31 with 33 golds, 22 of which in athletics.

Nguyen Thi Oanh has established her name as one of the stars of SEA Games 31 by scoring a gold hat-trick after two days of competition.

Oanh triumphed in the women’s 1,500m and 5,000m on May 14. She is also the winner of the women’s 3,000m hurdles the following day, clocking 9 min 46 sec to break her own record of 10 min and 0.02 sec set at SEA Games 30 in the Philippines.

 Track and field athlete Lo Thi Hoang quenched Vietnam’s long thirst for gold medal in the sport with a javelin throw of 56.37m.

 Meanwhile, Vietnam’s first golds in the men’s javelin and the men’s marathon were earned by Nguyen Hoai Van and Hoang Nguyen Thanh.

Host swimmers also made splashes with 11 golds, exceeding their target of 6-8 golds, despite the absence of star Nguyen Thi Anh Vien.

📝 OP-ED: SEA Games 31 a safe, fair, impressive festival for all hinh anh 5Host swimmers make splashes with 11 golds. (Photo: VNA)

Notably, they got two tickets to the 2022 World Championships, out of the four won by Southeast Asian athletes.

Vietnamese athletes also had impressive performances in other sports, like shooting with seven golds; rhythmic gymnastics, five golds; weightlifting, three golds and six records; fencing, five golds; and canoeing and rowing, each with eight golds; among others.

Such figures as Vu Thanh An and Nguyen Tien Nhat in fencing; Dinh Phuong Thanh and Le Thanh Tung in gymnastic; Hoang Thi Duyen in weightlifting, and Nguyen Thi Tam in boxing, to name but a few, have affirmed their position in the regional sport event.

In table tennis, Nguyen Duc Tuan won the first gold for Vietnam after 19 years, after defeating his Thai rival Pharpoom Sanguansin in the men’s singles final match.

Vietnam’s martial arts teams also made breakthroughs with 10 golds in wushu, nine others in judo and taekwondo each, seven in karate and kurash each, six in pencak silat and vovinam each, five in kickboxing and muay each, and two in jujitsu.

Vietnam’s successes in this Games have opened up a new hope for the country in other tournaments. However, the country should invest more to improve the capacity of its athletes to compete in bigger events./.