History of SEA Games

Originally the brainchild of Luang Sukhum Nayapradit, then Vice-President of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand, the SEA Games was conceived as a means to help forge strong regional cooperation, understanding and unity within the South East Asian community.

It was established to be a bi-annual multi-sports event to take place between the years when the Olympic Games and the Asian Games were held.

The Games were organised by the South East Asia Peninsular (“SEAP”) Games Federation, as it was known then. The first President of the Federation was General Prabhas Charusatiara of Thailand. Luang Sukhum Nayapradit was elected Vice-President.

SEA Games Federation flags flying proudly in Singapore in '93

Thailand, Burma (now Myanmar), Malaya (now Malaysia), Laos, South Vietnam and Cambodia the Federation’s first six founding members while Singapore was subsequently listed as one.

Less than 18 months after the idea was mooted in May 1958, the inaugural SEAP Games was held in Bangkok from 12 to 17 December 1959. It comprised of the founding countries, 12 sports and 650 athletes and officials.

In 1977, the Federation agreed to include three new nations – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Philippines. In line with the new members, the Federation changed its name to the South East Asian Games Federation and the Games were then known as the SEA Games.

In 2003, the Federation welcomed its newest and eleventh member, Timor-Leste. Currently, the Games are under regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.

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