By Avery Clyde Dimasuhid

PHOTO: The Straits Times

The dark Hanoi skies have once again flourished with lights, music, and traditional performances as the 31st Southeast Asian Games concluded at the My Dinh Indoor Games Gymnasium, celebrating the achievements that transpired since its opening last May 12. 

Hosts went back through the short memory lane last night, reminiscing highlights as they recognized the different sporting events, referees, volunteers, and athletes that stood out in this pandemic-held event, which included Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Oanh and Nguyen Huy Hoang, Thai Joshua Robert Atkinson, and Singaporean Jing Wen Quah.

Its closing ceremonies also featured Vietnamese entertainment and later on, traditional Cambodian performance after the SEA Games Federation flag was handed over to the 2023 SEA Games host, Phnom Penh, giving the spectators an opportunity to get a traditional glimpse of next year’s event.
Furthermore, member countries were recognized one by one, with Vietnam standing out in the binneal meet, topping the said event in their homeland for the second time. 

The Vietnamese country hosted the Games in 2005 and in 2021.

Host nation Vietnam, clinch 206 golds, 126 silvers, and 114 bronze medals for this year, much greater in number compared to what the 2019 leading nation, the Philippines, has garnered (149 golds, 117 silvers, and 121 bronzes).

Meanwhile, the Philippines failed to retain its top title back in the 2019 Games as the country settled for fourth place, paving the way for Thailand and Indonesia to be with Vietnam at the top three spots. 

With the 31st SEAG coming to a close, athletes and sports fans now look forward to the possible happenings of next year’s edition in Pnomh Penh, Cambodia, reuniting once again to celebrate peace and unity among Southeast Asian nations through sports.