Volunteers and athletes dance at the 28th SEA Games Closing Ceremony. Photo: SINGSOC
The 28th Southeast Asian Games closed in spectacular fashion at Singapore's new national Stadium on Tuesday, bringing down the curtain on nearly two weeks of non-stop sporting action at the region's biggest multi-sports event.
Singapore president Tony Tan officially declared the Games over after Tan Chuan-Jin, the president of the SEA Games Federation, delivered an emotional closing speech in which he described the last two weeks as “extraordinary.”
Minister Tan Chuan-Jin giving a speech at
the 28th SEA Games Closing Ceremony.
Photo: Daryl Yeo/SINGSOC
“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.”
Tan Chuan-Jin also delivered a moving tribute to the victims of the Sabah earthquake and spoke about the spirit of friendship between the 11 ASEAN countries.
He thanked the thousands of volunteers who had made the games such a great success and cited two athletes for special attention: the 11-year-old Myanmar swimmer Oo Shun Lei Maw, who became a hit despite being unable to keep up with her older opponents, and the Singaporean marathon runner Ashley Liew, who stopped and waited for his rivals to catch up with him after they took a wrong turn on the route.
“These are the people and events that made the Games,” he said. “This is the spirit of ASEAN and we have witnessed it at the SEA Games.”
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.
Malaysia's Khairy Jamaluddin waves the SEA Games Federation flag during the handover. Photo: SINGSOC
About 50,000 spectators filed into the stadium for the two-and-a-half hour ceremony that celebrated the performances of more than 4,000 athletes with a video montage of some of the highlights and ended in an explosion of fireworks, laser beams and a dance party hosted by DJ Ferry Corsten.
Just seven medals were decided on the last day with Thailand winning two of them to finish at the top of the medals table with 95 golds.
The host-nation Singapore finished second with 84 golds, followed by Vietnam (73), Malaysia (62), Indonesia (47), Philippines (29), Myanmar (12) and Cambodia (1). Laos, Brunei and East Timor also won medals but none of the 402 golds that were handed out.
Singapore's Vivian Rhamanan (L), Phua Jia H.M. (2nd L) and Samuel Kang (C) during the athletes' parade. Photo: SINGSOC
Singapore won the first gold medal on June 2, three days before the Opening Ceremony, and also the last, just hours before the Closing Ceremony, in the men's water polo, an event Singapore have won 26 times in a row, defeating Indonesia 15-10 in the final match at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
The republic also produced the two most prolific individual winners of the Games, both teenage swimmers. Joseph Schooling, who turned 20 on Tuesday, won gold medals in all nine events he entered while his 18-year-old team mate Quah Zheng Wen won a total of 12 medals, including seven gold.
Brunei athletes pose during the party segment especially for athletes and volunteers. Photo: SINGSOC
“Singapore has definitely punched above its weight in these,” the team’s Chef de Mission Mr Nicholas Fang told a news conference.. “If you look at population size, we are ranked ninth in Southeast Asia and yet we are able to fight among the top three places, it says a lot about the performance of the teams and the athletes and the sort of preparation that has been done.”
The Games also served as another dazzling demonstration of Singapore's reputation as one of the world’s top sports destinations, with most of the events held at the city’s state of the art SportsHub. Singapore already hosts a Formula One race, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) finals and a round of swimming’s World Cup series and was awarded a place on the world rugby sevens series.
Volunteers dance at the 28th SEA Games Closing Ceremony. Photo: SINGSOC
"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 in a joint statement.
For more photos of the Closing Ceremony, head here.