May 13, 2022
HANOI — Almost two decades on from the last time Việt Nam was host, the SEA Games 31 officially started with an opening ceremony at Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Hà Nội on Thursday (May 12).
President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc was joined by international leaders, athletes and cheering fans to welcome the Games.
At the opening ceremony, President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said: “Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the leaders of the Party and State of Việt Nam, I would like to thank you for coming to the opening ceremony of the 31st Southeast Asian Games, held in Hà Nội, Việt Nam.”
“I would like to announce the opening of the SEA Games 31. I wish the event to be successful. Thank you very much.”
Swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, who won the Youth Olympic gold medal, the Asian Games silver medal in 2018, the SEA Games 28 and SEA Games 30 gold medals, held the flag for the Vietnamese sports delegation in the parade of the 11 participating countries.
Track and field athlete Quách Thị Lan was chosen to light the flame of the SEA Games 31. She won gold in the women’s 400m hurdles at ASIAD 2018, as well as at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games, and many other international championships.
Lan is also the golden hope of Vietnamese athletics at this year’s competition.
The Games motto: “For a stronger South East Asia”, was presented through special art performances from bamboo, nón lá, lotus dancing and martial arts performances, depicting the identities of Southeast Asian countries through Đông Hồ paintings with the participation of talented art performers.
The opening ceremony ended with the Games’ official song “Let’s shine”, delivered by famous singers Hồng Nhung, Tùng Dương and the Oplus band.
This is the second time Việt Nam hosted the region’s biggest sports competition, the first time being in 2003.
Some SEA Games 31 events started on May 6 and the Games will end on May 23. The capital Hà Nội is hosting the majority of competitions across 40 different sports, though 11 provinces and cities are also hosting events.