|Its second consecutive gold medal in men's football helped Vietnam set a new SEA Games record of 205 gold medals, breaking Indonesia’s record of 194 golds set in 1997. (Photo: Duong Thuat)
After two years in which major sports tournaments were on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam hosted SEA Games 31 from May 12 to May 23 with the participation of 11 Southeast Asian sports delegations, and 10,000 athletes, coaches, and referees.
My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi hosted 20,000 spectators for the opening ceremony and 40,000 fans for the men's football final match, and filled the stands for other competitions.
Stadium venues in other provinces – Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, and Phu Tho – were filled with shirts and flags, even for matches not involving a Vietnamese team. Some venues had to turn away fans when the crowd exceeded the stadium’s capacity.
The famous Filipino pool player, Efren Reyes, said he was overwhelmed by the Vietnamese people's love of sports. A lot of Vietnamese people said they looked forward to his match and supported him regardless of the outcome. Felisberto De Deus won two silver medals in athletics, the first won by Timor Leste at the Games. He wore his national flag, but carried a Vietnamese flag around the stadium to thank the Vietnamese audience.
Its second consecutive gold medal in men's football helped Vietnam set a new SEA Games record of 205 gold medals, breaking Indonesia’s record of 194 golds set in 1997.
Tran Duc Phan, Deputy Director of the General Department of Sport and Physical Training and head of the Vietnamese sports delegation attending SEA Games 31 called the Games ‘a fair playing field’, and attributed the success of the Vietnamese delegation to their determination.
Addressing the closing ceremony on Monday in Hanoi, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh affirmed the vision and mission of ASEAN – solidarity, peace, friendship, and cooperation among 11 cultures. "For a stronger Southeast Asia - a strong and prosperous Southeast Asia", he said.