The 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) will be the second time Vietnam has hosted the region’s biggest sporting event, and all preparations are now complete for competitions to start.
SEA Games 22 opened at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on December 5, 2003, and was the first of its kind to be held in Vietnam and also a milestone in the country’s integration into the region.
Nineteen years later, the Games have returned to Vietnam. To prepare for SEA Games 31, the Organising Committee, with nine sub-committees and one operations board, took the initiative early.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stated that Vietnam will successfully host SEA Games 31 in the spirit of “solidarity, unity, safety, effectiveness, and thrift” with a high sense of responsibility that conforms with the Games’ theme “For a Stronger Southeast Asia”.
Featuring 40 sports and 523 events to be held in Hanoi and 11 nearby localities, the Games started with the first matches of the men’s football on May 6. The official opening ceremony will be held at My Dinh National Stadium on May 12.
Le Thi Hoang Yen, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration, said the country has been exerting efforts to prepare for the region’s biggest sporting event, expressing her hope that international friends will feel comfortable competing in Vietnam.
My Dinh Stadium will be the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, and the men’s football final, so upgrades were started in late 2021. The country’s largest stadium is now ready.
The shooting range at the National Sports Training Centre has also been equipped with modern facilities to meet Asian standards, becoming one of the best of its kind in Southeast Asia and qualified for hosting Olympic-scale competitions, the official noted.
Meanwhile, the nearby 5,000-seater gymnasiums in Bac Giang and Quang Ninh provinces, which also boast modern facilities that make them the best in Vietnam, promise spectators the best views of badminton and volleyball, according to Yen.
Themed “For a Stronger Southeast Asia”, SEA Games 31 looks towards not only the success of a regional sporting event but also an occasion for showing solidarity and friendship, and a platform for cultural exchanges among countries in the region.
At the send-off ceremony for the Vietnamese delegation on April 28, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said the Games reflect Vietnam’s role and sense of responsibility towards sports in Southeast Asia, and also illustrates the country as a proactive and responsible member of ASEAN that makes wholehearted contributions to the bloc’s development.
SEA Games 31 will feature all the Olympic sports for the first time in the spirit of nobility, undauntedness, creativity, and honesty.
The Vietnamese delegation to SEA Games 31 consists of 1,341 members, including 951 athletes, 250 coaches, and 30 experts, and is led by Deputy General Director of the Sports Administration Tran Duc Phan.
They will compete in 508 events across the 40 sports and are aiming for at least 140 gold medals to top the medal standings. In particular, they are determined to defend the men’s and women’s football crowns.
Yen said the Vietnam Sports Administration is coordinating with the National Administration of Tourism to promote tourism during SEA Games 31 and introduce the country to international friends.
The Games is an invitation to athletes, spectators and tourists from the region and the world at large to come to Vietnam – a beautiful, safe, hospitable and attractive country, she added./.