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SEA Games opens in Hanoi with spectacle of lights and dance

By Staff reporters   May 12, 2022 | 04:35 am PT
The opening ceremony of SEA Games 31 began 8 p.m. Thursday in Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium after a six-month Covid delay with numerous art performances.

SEA Games 31 opening ceremony.

The ceremony was split into three parts. The first one, titled "Friendly Vietnam", saw a countdown event along with mapping and virtual graphic shows. Dances featured Vietnamese symbols such as bamboo and lotus.

The second part, "Strong Southeast Asia", showcased the strength of ASEAN communities and included art performances. The third part, titled "Shining Southeast Asia", included more performances and the torch relay ceremony, representing the collaboration and unity between Vietnam and other ASEAN countries to build a strong community on the global stage.

A dance with bamboo, a symbol of Vietnams will and strong spirit.

A dance with bamboo, a symbol of Vietnam's will and strong spirit.

A lotus-themed performance.

A lotus-themed performance.

A giant painting introduces Laos at the ceremony.

A giant painting introduces Laos at the ceremony.

A painting of Malaysia

A painting of Malaysia

A painting of Myanmar

A painting of Myanmar.

Vietnam contingent.

Vietnam contingent. More than 5,000 athletes are in Vietnam for the event, and 31 representatives from each country joined the parade at the ceremony.

Brunei contingent.

Brunei contingent.

Cambodia contingent.

Cambodia contingent.

Indonesia contingent.

Indonesia contingent.

Laos contingent.

Laos contingent.

After President Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered a speech to officially open the regional sports event, fireworks exploded at My Dinh Stadium.

After President Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered a speech to officially open the regional sports event, fireworks exploded at My Dinh Stadium.

SEA Games opens in Hanoi with spectacle of lights and dance - 11
Quach Thi Lan (C), who won a gold medal in track and field at 2018 ASIAD, lit the SEA Games torch.

Quach Thi Lan (C), who won a gold medal in track and field at 2018 ASIAD, lit the SEA Games torch.

The SEA Games torch.

The SEA Games torch.

The ceremony closed with a musical performance of the official SEA Games 31 song "Let's Shine".

Just a few hours before the opening ceremony, a rain in Hanoi drenched the My Dinh Stadium wet, requiring workers and volunteer to clean them all up.

Volunteers clean up the My Dinh Statdium after a rain in the afternoon of May 12, 2022. Video by VnExpress

This would be the second time Vietnam hosts a SEA Games, the first one in 2003. Due to impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Games had to be postponed by half a year from its original date in December 2021.

Several tournaments of the Games have already gone underway even before the opening ceremony, including both men's and women's football, diving, rowing, kurash and pencak silat.

Vietnam has snatched 32 medals so far, including 17 gold, seven silver and 15 bronze, putting the country at the top of the medal tally.

Matches and tournaments of 40 sports, with 4,000 medals to be awarded, will take place across 12 northern Vietnam localities.

 
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