‘Vitamin SEA’ boosts Olympic movement’s recovery

The team welcome ceremony was held on Wednesday morning for the 11 delegations at the 31st SEA Games. © OCA
The team welcome ceremony was held on Wednesday morning for the 11 delegations at the 31st SEA Games. © OCA

Hanoi, Vietnam, May 11, 2022: The 11 countries competing in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi came together for the team welcome ceremony in the grounds of the My Dinh National Stadium on Wednesday morning.

After a welcome speech from the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr. Hoang Dao Cuong, the national anthems of the 11 National Olympic Committees were played in alphabetical order as each of the flags was raised.

The 11 NOCs then exchanged gifts with the organising committee before the delegations broke up for souvenir photos and media interviews.

The feeling of togetherness in this biennial regional sports festival was summed up by Supitr Samahito, Deputy Chef de Mission of the NOC Thailand delegation.

“The last time we met was for the SEA Games in the Philippines over two years ago, so the fact that we are here together again makes me very happy - to meet my old friends,” she said.

“It’s not just for the games, but for the friendship. We still have a very close connection and that’s why the SEA Games is very special for us, for the ASEAN countries. Also, Vietnam has tried to do everything - I can tell, even though we are still in the situation of the covid-19 pandemic.”

The Thai official clearly feels that this "Vitamin SEA” can boost the recovery of the Olympic movement after the pandemic.

“Everybody is feeling happy. We don’t think much in terms of the result of the games but we think about the connection, we think about the friendship, we think about whatever is related to Olympism. Olympism is very important, especially for myself as the Director of the Thailand Olympic Academy,” she said.

Thailand, a sports powerhouse in the SEA region, has brought a delegation of over 1,100, including 873 athletes, and they have set a target of winning 100 gold medals, mainly in the Olympic sports.

“Everybody is very excited to come because it’s been two years and we don’t have any activities like this, so this is a very good time and a very good experience to be in Hanoi again.”

The 31st SEA Games will run from May 12-23 in Hanoi and 11 neighbouring cities and provinces. There will be 40 sports and 526 events and 10,000 participants from the 11 NOCs, including 5,000 athletes.

The order of the flag raising at the team welcome ceremony on Wednesday morning was Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.