The closing ceremony was held one day ahead of the schedule because of the 60th anniversary of Malaysian National Day, which falls on August 31.
In a vibrant atmosphere of music, light and imposing artistic performances, the host artists bade farewell to all guests and expressed gratitude to athletes, referees, and volunteers for their contributions to the success of the regional sports event.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Malaysian Prime Minister said: “I declare the Southeast Asian Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 closed and I call upon the youths of the Southeast Asian countries to assemble in two years time in the Philippines to celebrate the 30th Southeast Asian Games.”
The organizing panel then extinguished the SEA Games flame and handed over the SEA Games traditional flag to representatives of the Philippines, which is set to host the 30th SEA Games in 2019.
The Vietnam sports delegation wrapped up the 29th SEA Games with a total haul of 58 gold, 50 silver and 60 bronze medals, ranking third on the medal tally right behind the Thailand sports delegation and the hosts Malaysia. This is the seventh consecutive SEA Games where Vietnam has been in the top 3 nations since 2003. These achievements were made by all-out efforts of all Vietnamese athletes, especially members of the swimming and athletics teams.
Particularly, Vietnam’s top swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien clinched eight gold and two silver medals, broke three SEA Games records in the 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke, and 100m backstroke. Together with Anh Vien’s brilliance, teammate Nguyen Huy Hoang performed impressively in the men’s 1,500m event, taking top honor with a time of 15:20.10, breaking the previous record of 15:31.03 set by his senior Lam Quang Nhat at the 28th SEA Games. Meanwhile, another young Vietnamese swimmer, the 15-year-old boy, Nguyen Huu Kim Son, made a perfect SEA Games debut by bagging the gold medal and breaking the SEA Games record in the men’s 400m medley event.
In addition, the achievements of 17 gold medals in the track and field events of the 29th SEA Games have lived up to expectation and made up for other sports. Notably, Le Tu Chinh emerged as the queen of sprints as she fiercely dominated the short dashes, winning the 100m in 11.56 and 200m in 23.32, beating Malaysia’s Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli who was second in both events in 11.74 and 23.64, respectively. The Vietnamese runner also teamed with Nguyen Thi Mong Tuyen, Tran Thi Yen Hoa, and Do Thi Quyen to win the 4x100m, the category has been dominated by the Thailand athletics team for many years. Another outstanding Vietnamese runner is Asian champion Nguyen Thi Huyen as she retained the three gold medals she won in Singapore in 2015.
Likewise, Vietnam’s other Olympic sports such as artistic gymnastics, table tennis and weightlifting also bore fruit. Male gymnasts took home five out of seven gold medals at the Games. Meanwhile, the male table-tennis team overcame rival Singapore to win the title.
Besides, the Vietnam’s national women’s football team secured the gold medal at the biggest regional sporting event with a dramatic 6-0 win over the host Malaysia, marking the fifth SEA Games champions title in women’s football, after the gold medals in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2009, and equaling Thailand’s record. Their victory to some extent gave some comfort to fans at home due to the 0-3 loss of U22 Vietnam male players to U22 Thailand, thus dropping out of the 29th SEA Games after the group stage.
According to Tran Duc Phan, chef d’equipe of the Vietnamese sports delegation, more than 90 percent of gold medals seized by Vietnam this season belong to the Olympic sports categories, while the figure for the last SEA Games was 87 percent. It means Vietnam is on the right track in training its athletes for the 2018 Asian Games and 2020 Summer Olympics’ qualifying round, he added.
Translated by Trung Thanh
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