Singapore plays host to 10 other ASEAN nations in the 28th Southeast Asian Games for the first time since 1993. Naturally, the best judge of her hosting abilities is not Singaporeans, but the welcomed guests. We caught up with a few athletes and their families to find out how they were enjoying the SEA Games thus far. The responses were heartening, if not expected.
“It’s very hot!” laughed Nattaliya Himathongkom, 20, from Bangkok, Thailand. She added, “There are many shops to go shopping in the city, and the city is very clean.”
The Himathongkom family travelled down to Singapore to support their daughter, Ammiga, in her swimming competition. Photo credit: Tang Jia Min/ SINGSOC
But Nattaliya later admits that all the fanfare pales in comparison to watching her sister, Ammiga Himathongkom, a bronze medalist in the Women’s 400m Freestyle event. “We (her and her father) didn’t expect that she would get a medal, but she did! That is the best experience we have had here.”
While Nattaliya, a spectator, has had time to soak in the sights of the city, not everyone has had the opportunity to do the same. Elizabeth Ann Jordana, 18, a swimmer from the Philippines, has been focused on the competition. “Our coaches don’t allow us to go outside the hotel!”
Elizabeth takes time out to answer our questions, while waiting for her teammates to warm down in the training pool. Photo credit: Woon Jiemin/ SINGSOC
So, if given the chance to hit the streets, where would she start? “Outside my hotel room there’s a building with a pool on the top of it. I would love to go to the top just to swim in it,” Elizabeth said excitedly, referring to the iconic Marina Bay Sands. “I would really like to explore Singapore… just walk around the city and look at things, because the architecture of the city’s incredible and I heard there’s a lot to do.”
Despite the lack of adventures, Elizabeth still finds her experience an enjoyable one.
“It’s been really amazing; everybody’s been super nice and helpful.” This being her first international meet, she gushes, “The competition itself has been the best part!”
Here’s wishing everyone coming to Singapore for the SEA Games a pleasant stay!
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.