(Photo Tatoli/Hortencio Sanchez)

DILI, 16 may 2022 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste, the newest nation in South East Asia compete at seven different sports in the Hanoi Sea Games Competition which was officially announced by the President of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

The competition features 40 sports, mainly those played at the Olympic Games, and Timor-Leste competed in seven different sports – athletics, taekwondo, boxing, beach volleyball, karate, swimming, and men’s football.

President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc thanked the athletes from the 11 countries of South East Asia.

“On behalf of the Government and the people of Vietnam, I would like to thank all the participants and athletes who are present here to attend the official launch of the 31st Sea Games, in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam,” President Phúc said in his opening speech at the launching ceremony of the Sea Games Competition, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The 31st edition of the Southeast Asian Games features 40 sports across 526 events and counts on the participation of 5.467 athletes from 11 different nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The 31st Sea Games Competition was kicked off with a chess competition.

Apart from the competition, the organizing Committee also requested Timor-Leste to present its cultural and religious heritage at the event.

“The organizing committee requested Timor-Leste to present our religious and cultural heritage at the Exhibition of Hanoi Sea Games in Vietnam,” said Ambassador of Timor-Leste to Vietnam, Maria Olandina Isabel Caeiro Alves.

“We have visited all the stands of various countries at the exhibition, and the Organizing Committee of the Sea Games requested us to demonstrate Timor-Leste religious and cultural heritage. So, we exhibit the image of Cristo Rei of Fatumaca and other cultural artifacts, including, belak, mortel, and ceremonial cloth known as tais,” Alves told TATOLI, in Malaysia, on saturday.

Timorese athlete, Felisberto de Deus said he was delighted to compete in the Sea Games.

“I feel proud to represent my country to compete in the 31st Sea Games Competition. I will do my best to bring with me some medals for my country and my people,” he said.

Originally the 2021 Sea Games was scheduled to take place from 21 november to 2 december 2021, but it was moved to 12 to 23 may 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 31st edition of the Southeast Asian Games features 40 sports across 526 events and counts on the participation of 5,467 athletes from 11 different nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Southeast Asian Games owe its origins to the South East Asian Peninsular Games or SEA Games. On 22 May 1958, delegates from the countries in the Southeast Asian Peninsula attending the Asian Games in Tokyo, Japan had a meeting and agreed to establish a sports organization. The SEA Games was conceptualized by Luang Sukhum Nayapradit, then Vice-President of the Thailand Olympic Committee. The proposed rationale was that a regional sports event will help promote cooperation, understanding, and relations among countries in the Southeast Asian region.

Six countries, Burma (now Myanmar), Kampuchea (now Cambodia), Laos, Malaya (now Malaysia), Thailand, and the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) were the founding members.

The first SEA Games were held in Bangkok from 12–17 December 1959, with more than 527 athletes and officials from 6 countries; Burma (now Myanmar), Laos, Malaya, Singapore, South Vietnam, and Thailand participating in 12 sports.

Journalist: Hortencio Sanchez

Editor: Cancio Ximenes/ Nelia Borges Fernandes

Translation: Filomeno Martins

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