Athletes honoured at SEA Games send-off

Vietnamese athletes have said they are prepared to compete in the 27th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 27) in Myanmar next month.

The delegation took part in a send-off ceremony on November 20 at the National Sports Training Centre in Hanoi, where they displayed their determination to bring home victory.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh asked all athletes, coaches and officials to maintain a spirit of fair-play while, at the same time, winning medals for the country.

"For many years, Vietnam has been one of the top teams competing at the SEA Games. I have seen and appreciated how all athletes have worked so hard, through their labours and efforts in the past months, in preparation for the Games," said Anh.

"I believe that they will do their best to win in Myanmar, where they will also show off their solidarity, spirit of fair-play and each of them will be an ambassador to promote Vietnam's image to our world-wide friends," he said.

On behalf of the 519 athletes participating at the SEA Games, pencak silat martial artist Nguyen Thi Thuy said she understood that being a national team member is a matter of pride for all Vietnamese. Also, she said she was aware that participating as a team member carried important duties and responsibilities, and promised to compete and return home with SEA Game medals.

Sponsors and awards

As regulated, a SEA Games gold medal winner will be awarded 65million VND (3,100 USD), while an athlete who sets a new Games record will receive 15 million VND (700 USD).

According to head of Vietnam's team Lam Quang Thanh, apart from these bonuses, athletes will also receive ‘on-the-spot' awards. Team leaders will present 6 million VND (285 USD) for a champion in individual events, while football will offer the largest bonus of 60 million VND (2,850 USD) for team events.

Many businesses have also promised to support the national teams with both cash and presents.

The SPM Company, whose My Vita brand sells vitamin and ginseng nutritional products, will provide every athlete with their products to assure they remain in top form during the tournament, while offering bonuses for best athlete of the day of 15 million VND (710 USD) and best athlete of the Games of 20 million VND (950 USD).

Also, the Vietnam Multimedia Corporation will present a digital satellite receiver and 12 months's free access to its network to every gold medalist.

The Vietnamese athletes also enjoy significant support from Dong Luc Sport Group and An Phuoc Garment, which have contributed up to 5.2 billion VND (248,000 USD) for uniforms and footwear.

Vietnam will send a combined team of 750 athletes and officials to the Games, where they will compete in 29 of 33 sports events at the tournament, hoping to bring home at least 70 gold medals, said officials.

Football teams will be the first to arrive in Nay Pyi Taw on November 26, while the largest group from the delegation will leave for the competition on December 4.

The Games will officially open on December 11 and close 11 days later on December 22. The opening and closing ceremonies are both to be held at Wunna Theikdi Stadium in the capital.

At the last SEA Games held in Jakarta two years ago, Vietnam ranked third, winning 96 gold medals, trailing the host Indonesia with 182 and Thailand with 109.

Source VNA

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