HANOI: Cocooned in an indoor arena away from the persistent rain, the closing ceremony of the 31st SEA Games drew the regional meet to a close with a vibrant show of music and culture in Hanoi last Monday (May 23).
At the My Dinh Indoor Games Gymnasium, the Games’ closing ceremony began by with an exuberant performance highlighting the transformation of the Vietnamese capital over the years in an item entitled My Hanoi, Your Love.
In front of various dignitaries including Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the flags of each of the various participating nations were proudly carried out, with their medal count announced to warm applause.
This was followed by a marching parade celebrating the contributions of all involved in the Games including referees and volunteers.
Awards were also handed out to the four best athletes of the Games.
The one-and-half-hour fiesta, which saw several song and dance performances, closed with the official song of the Hanoi SEA Games – Hay Toa Sang (Let’s Shine).
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced the official closing of the 31st Southeast Asian Games, describing the event as a demonstration of regional solidarity, peace, friendship, cooperation, and development.
The SEA Games flame was then extinguished and the SEA Games federation flag was handed over to Cambodia, which will host the next edition from May 5 – 16 next year in Phnom Penh. Watch the closing ceremony on MediaCorp’s YouTube channel, here.
The closing ceremony then wrapped up with an extravaganza of song and dance items celebrating Vietnam. In a prelude to the 32nd Games, Cambodian dancers and singers performed a song called “Welcoming and Blessing”. The 2023 Games’ mascots, Borey and Rumduol – two rabbits in traditional Khmer attire – were also involved in the cultural performance.
Vietnam’s SEA Games Theme Song
The song, composed by renowned composer Huy Tuan, is titled ‘Hay toa sang’ (Let’s shine),
It expresses pride in the culture and people of Vietnam and highlights sportsmanship as well as efforts made to achieve the best results, with lyrics in the Vietnamese language and a chorus in English.
Since the official song was launched, its audio record, sung in Vietnamese and English by Tung Duong, Van Mai Huong, Ho Ngoc Ha, Isaac, and Den Vau, has attracted a large number of listeners on digital platforms, the organising committee said.
Inspired by memorial moments of the 22nd SEA Games in 2003 – the first of its kind to be held in Vietnam, the music video (released on April 18, 2022) recounts the feeling of pride at that time and then gradually rolls out a picture of Vietnam on the thresholds of the 31st SEA Games.
Sharing the idea of the MV, director Le Huy Anh said: “Twenty years ago, the 22nd SEA Games left an indelible mark on my heart. I always remember the image of me and my friends sitting in front of the TV, amazed by the celebrations, the competitions, the athletes – our idol stars. The admiration and vibrant atmosphere that lives on in sports days is ubiquitous. To this day, I still have the feeling of a teenager who has been rekindled with the fire passed down by previous generations.”
Composer Huy Tuan said that he is so proud that his work has been chosen among hundreds of entries submitted to the contest. The song is a present dedicated to all athletes, he added, hoping that they will obtain the best results during competitions.
The last day of action on Sunday concluded memorably with the Vietnam Under-23 football team’s 1-0 win over their Thai counterparts, adding the icing on the cake for the hosts, who enjoyed a record-breaking Games with 205 gold, 125 silver, and 116 bronze medals.
The previous record haul was the 194 gold medals set by Indonesia as hosts of the 1997 Games.
Finishing in second, third and fourth places respectively were Thailand (92-103-136), Indonesia (69-91-81), and the Philippines (52-70-104).
At the closing ceremony, four best athletes were honored for their individual performances at the Games: Nguyen Huy Hoang, swimmer (Vietnam), Nguyen Thi Oanh, runner (Vietnam), Joshua Robert Atkinson (Thailand), and Quah Jing Wen, swimmer (Singapore).
SEA GAMES Vietnam
The SEA Games 31, themed “For a stronger South East Asia”, took place in Hanoi and 11 neighbouring localities from May 12 to 23. It featured 40 sports with 526 events and attracted around 10,000 participants. The biennial event was initially slated for late 2021 but was delayed due to the pandemic.