CAPAS, Tarlac -- Spectacular and smashing bright fireworks display lit up the night of New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac as the Philippines wrapped up its hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), the biggest in the history of the biennial meet in terms of number of sporting events and athletes.
It featured production numbers from internationally renowned performers who has Kampangan-blood namely Arnel Pineda who rocked the stadium with the KO Jones Band and Apl.de.ap who was with his Grammy winning group Black Eyed Peas. There were also performances from local acts Binulu Festival Dancers of Porac, Pampanga and The Manila Concert Choir.
Following the Olympic tradition, athletes that competed in SEA Games 2019 entered the venue as “one team” after the flag bearers as a symbol of world unity.
Spectators and delegates alike were in awe with the drone show that had various formations including the official logo of the 30th SEA Games, the sports played, Philippine flag and the tagline “We Win As One.”
In his message, House Speaker and Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee Chairperson Alan Peter Cayetano noted that the country’s hosting broke many records by being the most viewed SEA Games in history and biggest ever with 530 events in 56 sports. “We, Filipinos, have shown the world that we can do it and we will do it with world-class quality,” he stated.
Cayetano assured the athletes of the national government’s continued support particularly in the grassroots program of the Philippine Sports Commission. He disclosed that more sports facilities will be built at NCC including the Philippine High School for Sports that will mold the next generation of World and possibly Olympic champions.
For his part, Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino lauded the athletes for their dedication, hard work and sacrifices during the 2019 edition of the games. “We also want to commend our workforce and volunteers for taking on the challenge and pushing themselves to the limits to ensure the successful operation of the event. No matter what our role is in this game, we have memories to cherries for a lifetime,” he added. “In the past week, we have seen true sportsmanship and camaraderie in all the sports events. The SEA Games has again proven that sports can break barriers of diversity in religion, language, culture and build bridges of peace and harmony to nations,” Tolentino stressed.
In behalf of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea officially declared the games closed. He invited everyone to gather once again in 2021 for the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam. The contingent of Vietnam had a cultural number giving a glimpse on what it will offer in two years.
The night also featured the awarding of special recognitions to individuals and groups that made an impact during the 11-day SEA Games in the country. They include swimmer Zheng Weng of Singapore as Best Male Athlete and fellow swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien of Vietnam as Best Female Athlete.
The Fair Play Award was given to surfer Roger Casugay of the Philippines for opting to save his Indonesian opponent rather than having an opportunity to win during the semi-finals of Men’s Longboard event in La Union. He was also given the honor to be the flag bearer during the Closing Ceremony.
And lastly, the Overall Championship trophy was bestowed to the Philippines for winning 149 Gold, 117 Silver and 121 Bronze medals.
The country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games maybe over but come January, NCC will once again open its doors to athletes competing in the 10th ASEAN Para Games. Let us also show our support to our para-athletes and together, We Win as One! (PIA)