SEA GAMES 2019: Let The Games Begin!
01 December 2019
Team Singapore marched into the Philippine Arena Saturday (30 Nov) evening with pride and hope in their hearts as the 30th Southeast Asian Games was officially launched by the President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila.
With squash player Samuel Kang at the symbolic helm as flagbearer, Singapore chef de mission Juliana Seow led the representative contingent of more than 50 comprising players from ice hockey, squash and sepak takraw as well as secretariat and medical staff.
All smiles as Team Singapore signal their arrival at the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Photo Credit:Reuters
These Games will see 666 Singapore athletes in action – the biggest contingent for an away Games – competing in 48 of the 56 sports hosted across the three main clusters of Manila, New Clark City and Subic Bay.
In all, some 11,000 athletes will be competing in the 560 medal events offered at these Games.
The opening ceremony was the first one to be held indoors in the history of the Games and proved to be a classic. The cultural performance items at the start of the proceedings showcased the diversity of the Philippine nation even as it mirrored the spirit of the 11 ASEAN countries attending these biennial Games.
The Games have returned to the Philippines after a 14-year absence and as the music, dance and lights enthralled the 55,000-capacity audience, the organisational glitches that surfaced in the past week were washed away.
Team Singapore receive as warm welcome as they enter the Philippine Arena. Photo Credit: Reuters
It was particularly symbolic when boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and his heir-apparent Nesthy Petecio jointly lit the cauldron to signal the start of the Games which will run until 11 December.
Kang, a two-time SEA Games gold medallist, spoke of being the Singapore flagbearer: “It was an amazing experience marching out as the flagbearer for the Singapore contingent.”
“I feel really honoured to be given this privilege and it is a special moment not just for me, but for the squash fraternity in Singapore,” the 28-year-old Princeton University graduate said.
A proud moment for squash player Samuel Kang who had the honour as Team Singapore flagbearer. Photo Credit:Reuters
“Yes, I was a little surprised to be selected as squash does not typically get a lot of attention compared to other higher-profile sports, so it’s fantastic to have this opportunity. I am really grateful to SNOC and everyone else who made this happen.”
For Ms Seow, on her first assignment as head of delegation to a major Games, it was a special night.
"Proud to be part of an amazing Opening Ceremony showcasing the myriad of cultures in the Philippines, reflecting much of what Southeast Asia is about,” she said.
"Being here reminds us of the origins of the Games - to build a stronger bond and friendship with our ASEAN friends.”
"Our athletes are ready to do their best and we hope all of Singapore will get behind them as they give it their all."