SEA Games 31 leaves strong imprints among foreign friends

The successful hosting of the 31st Southeast Asian Games, the biggest sporting event in the region in 2022, affirmed the position of Vietnam on the regional sport map and its readiness as well as great efforts to welcome back foreign tourists.
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Vietnamese players show their joy after winning the men's football final against Thailand on May 22. (Photo: SGGP)

With the engagement of the whole political system, the right, flexible and drastic measures taken by the Government, ministries, sectors, and localities, the Covid-19 pandemic has been effectively controlled, helping people calmly return to their normal life after the two-year fight against the health crisis.

By the end of 2021, when the pandemic was basically controlled in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, the date for the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) was fixed.

The biennial regional sporting event, featuring 40 sports, took place in Hanoi and 11 nearby localities from May 12 to 23, 2022.

SEA Games 31 not only spreads the sports spirit, solidarity and friendship to more than 600 million people from 11 countries in the region but also gave proof of Southeast Asia’s strength after two years of combating the pandemic.

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Members of the Vietnamese Taekwondo squad celebrate first gold medal at the poomsae event on the first competition day at SEA Games 31 on May 15, 2022. (Photo: SGGP)

There was a fear of a SEA Games with no-audience due to Covid-19. The fear was really removed when the Vietnamese Government decided to fully re-opened borders to tourists from March 15, which means that foreign tourists, sports lovers and fans can come to Vietnam to enjoy the atmosphere of the largest sporting event in the region. The decision aims to bring life back to normal, promote recovery of economic development at the same time do not miss the opportunity to organize major international events like SEA Games.

On April 28 last year, the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health issued a document on the suspension of the Covid-19 health declarations in service of SEA Games 31.

This was applicable at all of Vietnam’s border gates. Therefore, all people entering Vietnam to participate in SEA Games 31 did not have to make Covid-19 health declarations.

On the evening of May 12, thousands of athletes and audiences at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, and millions of Southeast Asian spectators together witnessed the impressive opening ceremony of SEA Games 31.

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Vietnamese runners at SEA Games 31 (Photo: SGGP)

Foreign athletes and tourists had the opportunity to experience various modern competition venues, witness the socio-economic development of Vietnam and visit attractive destinations in the host country.

With hospitality and sportsmanship, Vietnamese fans also presented a beautiful image to foreign athletes and fans.

Foreign media praised Vietnam’s preparations for the Games, saying that despite the complex developments of the global health crisis, the country demonstrated responsibility in preparing thoughtfully, safely, and securely.

Vice Chairman of the World Vovinam (Vietnamese martial arts) Federation and Chairman of the African Vovinam Federation Mohammed Djouadj expressed his impression with Vietnam’s organization of SEA Games 31, to which he was invited to serve as an international supervisor of the sport at the Games.

Commenting on the event, Chairman of the Singaporean National Assembly and also Chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Committee, Tan Chuan-Jin, who attended the opening ceremony and matches of SEA Games 31, said it was difficult to organize a huge event like SEA Games amid the lingering effects of Covid-19, not to mention many other challenges.

To be able to pull off such a feat, Vietnam has proven their top-notch level capability, he stressed, adding that it delighted him that Vietnam has hosted and organized such a successful SEA Games for the region.