10 unforgettable moments from the 28th SEA Games

by SINGSOC | Published on:

Opening ceremony: What a show

The Games opened in a blaze of colour and pageantry at Singapore's new national Stadium around 50,000 spectators attending the two-hour multi-million-dollar show.

The ceremony centred on the aspirations of a young child who dared to dream big and create a brighter future, a narrative that mirrors the rise of the SEA Games.

opening ceremony

Fandi Ahmad (2nd from left) and Irfan Fandi during the Torch Relay. Photo credit: SINGSOC 

The highlight came when Fandi Ahmad was joined by his 17-year-old son Irfan, and together they lit the cauldron, triggering a dazzling fireworks display.

Marathon: Ashley Liew's commendable sportsmanship

Singapore marathon runner Ashley Liew had no regrets in slowing down to an almost stop to allow his fellow competitors, who had followed the wrong route, a chance to recover.

Liew found himself leading the field early in the race after his rivals took a wrong turn but instead of taking advantage of his 50-metre lead, he opted to wait for them before eventually finishing eighth after an amazing show of sportsmanship.

Swimming: Joseph Schooling's nine gold-medal haul

Every host nation craves a local hero and Joseph Schooling lit up the OCBC Aquatics Centre for six consecutive nights, beaming his photogenic smile on the top step of the podium an unfathomable nine times from as many events. 

Joseph Schooling
Joseph Schooling acknowledging the crowd. Photo credit: SINGSOC

The Texas-based phenomenon set Games records in every event he won, laid down qualifying times for the World Championships and next year's Olympics, as the 19-year-old announced himself as a serious medal contender for the Rio Games.

Organisation: The organisation of the SEA Games was a model of excellence. 

The venues were state of the art, there were enthusiastic crowds at all the competitions and the Games went according to plan.


Volunteers helping to carry the athletes' belongings before the start of a race. Photo credit: SINGSOC 

Zolkples Embong, chief executive officer of Malaysia’s 2017 SEA Games organising committee, was impressed.

“I really admire the technology aspect of the Games in Singapore,” he said.

Showcase of Digital innovations for the 28th SEA Games to enhance spectator experience. Photo: SINGSOC  

Showcase of digital innovations for the 28th SEA Games to enhance spectator experience. Photo credit: SINGSOC

“I like the results system which you can get immediately online, and also watch sports 'live' on the Internet, on your handphone. This is a new dimension of the Games that is worth implementing."

Swimming: Myanmar's 11-year-old Lei Maw wins admirers

For every Joseph Schooling there's a Lei Maw and although the tiny swimmer from Myanmar finished a distant last in all but one of the six races she entered, her efforts earned her the respect and sympathy of those who saw her compete.

"They are so fast and I am the slowest one," said the swimmer, who celebrated her 11th birthday during the Games. "I want to be better than the slowest one."

Despite her commitment to swimming, Lei Maw remains very much like any other girl of her age. "I like to watch TV, play games, read books and listen to music, but not training... it's too tiring," she added.

Badminton: Epic point decides thrilling mixed doubles final

Southeast Asia has deep stocks of world class badminton players and although a few of the very best opted to prepare for the World Championships in August elsewhere, the SEA Games still attracted a high-class field of shuttlers. 


Indonesia's Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto (left) in action with Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon (front left) and Goh Liu Ying (front right). Photo credit: SINGSOC 

The mixed doubles was the final event on the final day of competition and it produced a classic as Indonesia's Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto saved three match points before edging Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying 18-21 21-13 25-23.

The world number 11 pairing were taken the distance by the former third-ranked duo, with Goh coming back from a year off following double knee surgery, before Praveen sealed the contest with a booming smash at the end of a 27-shot rally that would take star billing on any highlight reel.

Football: Gold for Thailand

Thailand overcame a spirited Myanmar and their supportive fans 3-0 in the final at the National Stadium. 


Thailand fans and players celebrate after the first goal in the finals. Photo credit: SINGSOC

Centreback Tanaboon Kesarat struck the opening goal in the 51st minute, Chananan Pombubpha made the game safe with a goal in the 63rd minute before substitute Pinyo Inpinit wrapped up the scoring with 12 minutes remaining.

The victory was the Thai's 15th football gold at the SEA Games in the biennial multi-sports event and 10th in the last 12 editions.

Boxing: Eumir Felix Marcial's stunning knockout punch

Philippines' Eumir Felix Marcial (R) celebrates winning the fight against Singapore's Tay Jia Wei in Boxing Men's Welterweight Final. Photo: SINGSOC

Philippines' Eumir Felix Marcial (right) celebrates winning the fight against Singapore's Tay Jia Wei. Photo credit: SINGSOC 

For every star that wanes a new one is born and 19-year-old welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial could be the man Filipino boxing fans hope can fill the void likely to be left by eight-weight world champion Manny Pacquaio when he retires.

Marcial was the first boxer from his nation to win a junior world title in 2011 and he looked every inch a future professional champion as he stormed to gold, knocking out local hope Jia Wei Tay with a stunning left hook in their final bout.

The southpaw oozed class as he set Tay up for the knockout, stalking him around the ring with a display of controlled boxing that showed off a full array of devastating combinations and a ringcraft that belied his years.

Team Singapore: Home Town Heroes 

team spore

The Singapore men's water polo team celebrates winning the gold medal in front of the crowd. Photo credit: SINGSOC

Every host nation of a big events wants the home team to do well but Team Singapore exceeded everyone's expectations.

The 749-strong team won a record 259 medals in total, the most by any country at the Games, including 84 golds, second only to Thailand.

"Team Singapore has put in fantastic efforts to make this a successful SEA Games. They have inspired the entire nation repeatedly over the past 18 days, what a great way to mark Singapore's jubilee," Dr Tan Eng Liang and Mr Nicholas Fang said.

Closing Ceremony: Time to say goodbye

Singaporean president Tony Tan officially declared the Games over after Tan Chuan-Jin, the president of the SEA Games Federation, delivered an emotional closing speech, paying tribute to the victims of the Mount Kinabalu earthquake in nearby Borneo and the spirit of friendship between the 11 ASEAN countries.

“These Games will be a memorable one for many of us for years to come,” Tan Chuan-Jin said. “It has been made possible by all the countries from our region.”

closing ceremony

Malaysia's Khairy Jamaluddin waves the SEA Games Federation flag during the handover. Photo credit: SINGSOC 

In keeping with tradition, the SEA Games cauldron was then extinguished and the SEA Games flag was lowered and handed over to Malaysia, who will host the next edition in 2017.

SEA Games tv app. Photo: SINGSOC

Website powered by

Main Sponsors

Official Sponsors