SEA Game 31: Malaysia likely to advance to men’s football semi-finals
Group B matches in the men’s football of the ongoing SEA Games 31 took place in Thien Truong Stadium of Nam Dinh northern province on May 11.
Malaysia defeated Laos 3-1 and gained a major chance to qualify for semi-finals with two victories. Their Lao rivals had only one point.
Bin Shamsudin opened the score for Malaysia in the 35th minute and Muhamad Bin Bashad doubled its lead only eight minutes later.
Bin Shamsudin fired again to raise the score to 3-0 for Malaysia in the 69th minute.
Phitthack Kongmathilath sealed a consolation goal for Laos five minute before the final whistle.
On the same day, Singapore obtained a 1-0 win over Cambodia.
Before the kick-off, Singapore had only one point after two games while Cambodia got three with their 4-1 victory over Laos in their first match.
Saifullah Akbar of Singapore scored the match’s sole goal in the 35th minute.
Fixtures of Group B will continue on May 14.
SEA Games 31: Indonesia’s futsal players hold Vietnam to 1 – 1 draw
Vietnam tied 1 – 1 with Indonesia in a match of the first round of the men’s futsal at SEA Games 31 on May 11.
With support from nearly 5,000 spectators at the gymnasium of Ha Nam province, Vietnamese players made continuous attack attempts right from the match’s beginning.
Nguyen Minh Tri scored a goal for Vietnam early, and 1 – 0 was also the result of the first half through both teams spared no efforts to hit the ball into their opponents’ nets.
The team of Vietnam proactively played defence in the second half to keep the score. However, Indonesia with excitement and confidence launched many attacking phases to find the ball’s way to the goal of keeper Ho Van Y.
Despite Y’s excellent performance, Syauqi Saud of Indonesia still succeeded in scoring a leveling goal.
The game ended up in a 1 – 1 tie.
After the first round, Thailand is currently at the top position of the men’s futsal, respectively followed by Vietnam and Indonesia.
The next matches will take place between Indonesia and Malaysia at 1pm, and between Vietnam and Malaysia at 4pm on May 14.
SEA Games 31: Singaporean table tennis team arrives in Vietnam
The Singaporean table tennis team arrived in the northern province of Hai Duong on May 10 – the first team to arrive in the locality for the upcoming SEA Games 31.
All team members underwent COVID-19 tests upon arrival.
Later that day, the team held a training session in preparation for the Games.
As the venue for table tennis at SEA Games 31, Hai Duong is expected to welcome nearly 100 players, coaches, and representative of organisations from 8 countries: Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
The table tennis competition will take place from 10am to 10pm daily on May 13-20 at the Gymnastics and Sports Stadium in Hai Duong.
SEA Games 31: Proposals to increase women’s presence in sports
The sports and women’s committee of the Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) held a second meeting in Hanoi on May 11, part of activities for the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31).
The sports and women’s committee of the Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) held a second meeting in Hanoi on May 11, part of activities for the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31).
Nguyen Thi Bich Van, deputy head of the international cooperation division at the Vietnam Sports Administration, pointed out the lack of women in the council, executive committee and healthcare committee of the SEAGF. The number of female leaders and managers in the 11 member countries’ national Olympic committees is low, and none have a female president.
Women’s participation in sporting events has been growing, but there is a lack of gender equality in the leadership of sports, she said.
The official stressed that gender equality is a leading priority of the Olympic Movement, and sport is one of the strongest stepping stones for promoting gender equality and female empowerment.
National Olympic committees should take actions to promote gender equality through leadership development and awareness raising campaigns, as well as the appointment of more women to important leadership and management positions, Van recommended.
At the meeting, participants discussed many issues relevant to sports and women in Southeast Asia.
They agreed to ask national Olympic committees to set up female sports committees to increase female membership in the SEAGF to 30 percent. This proposal will be submitted to the SEAGF Council on May 12.
SEA Games 31: Thailand beat Malaysia 6-2 in men’s futsal
Thailand crushed Malaysia 6-2 at the opening match of SEA Games 31 men’s futsal which took place in the northern province of Ha Nam on May 11.
Thailand crushed Malaysia 6-2 at the opening match of SEA Games 31 men’s futsal which took place in the northern province of Ha Nam on May 11.
Five minutes into the match, Thailand, considered the stronger team, opened the score. The squad ended the first round by breaking Malaysia’s net for another four times.
In the second round, Malaysian players adjusted their tactics and were more active in attack, scoring two goals. The matches closed with another score for Thailand.
On the same day, Vietnam are scheduled to meet Indonesia.
The futsal event sees the participation of nearly 90 players from five countries – host Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar. Its matches are played in a round-robin format. The team with the highest score will win the gold medal; the other two with the second and third best records will bag silver and bronze medals.
SEA Games 31: U23 Thailand receive bonus after win over Singapore
Nualphan Lamsam, manager of the men’s U23 team of Thailand, has given a bonus to the players after their 5-0 win over Singapore at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in Vietnam.
Nualphan Lamsam, manager of the men’s U23 team of Thailand, has given a bonus to the players after their 5-0 win over Singapore at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in Vietnam.
Nualphan, nicknamed “Madam Pang” by the Thai media, met and presented gifts to each member of the squad. She also gave a birthday gift to defender Jonathan Khemdee on May 9.
Thailand earned three points after a comfortable 5-0 victory over Singapore in the second match of Group B at the ongoing SEA Games 31 on May 9.
Thailand had most of the chances in the first half, none of which found the net until the last minute from the penalty spot.
Thailand dominated in the second half to boost their goal difference ahead of their final group game.
Vietnamese Taekwondo squad meet difficulty at SEA Games 31
Taekwondo athletes of Vietnam will meet many difficulties on their way to the championship at the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), according to the Organising Committee of SEA Games 31.
Taekwondo athletes of Vietnam will meet many difficulties on their way to the championship at the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31),  according to the Organising Committee of SEA Games 31. 
According to head coach of the national team Vu Anh Tuan, the preparation by Vietnamese taekwondo fighters has followed the schedule.
The athletes are in the best heath condition and fortunately there are no serious injuries affecting the team’s personnel, the head coach said.
The squad’s early gathering at Tay Ho district’s gymnasium from May 9 is a really favourable condition for the athletes to be able to achieve their goals because getting acquainted with venues is really important in the preparation work, Tuan said.
However, there are many other issues that will affect the Vietnamese athletes’ performance, he noted, saying the strength of opponents must be taken into account.
In Southeast Asia, taekwondo fighters have reached the world level in many weight categories, even some have held Olympic championships, Tuan said.
To SEA Games 31, Thailand has sent female taekwondo fighter Panipak Wongpattanakit, who had a podium finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This shows that Thailand and other countries attach great importance to the SEA Games playground, which makes it more difficult for Vietnamese athletes to win the championship at the regional sports event, Tuan stressed.
SEA Games 31: Vietnamese rowers grab two gold medals
The Vietnamese women’s rowing team won two more gold medals in the final round of the event at the ongoing Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in the northern city of Hai Phong on May 11 despite unfavourable weather conditions.
Four experienced athletes who have obtained high achievements in the Asian Games (ASIAD) and Olympics brought the first gold medal for Vietnam in the day in the women’s quadruple sculls event.
They are Pham Thi Hue, Dinh Thi Hao, Ho Thi Ly and Pham Thi Thao. Hue has twice won an official Olympic berth and Hao competed at the Tokyo Olympics in July and August last year. Ho Thi Ly attended the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Brazil while Pham Thi Thao won a gold medal at the ASIAD 2018.
Rowers Pham Thi Ngoc Anh, Le Thi Hien, Ha Thi Vui and Du Thi Bong grabbed another gold after finishing first in the women’s four event. They crossed the finish line in 7min 4 sec, 12 seconds faster than the Indonesian team.
Vietnamese rowers also secured two bronzes in lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2X) and men’s double sculls (M2X) competitions on May 11.
At the end of the first final round, Vietnam won two gold and two bronze medals. Indonesia grabbed two golds and two silvers while the Philippines won one silver and one bronze and Thailand two bronze. Both Cambodia and Singapore got one bronze medal each.
Vietnamese rowers are expected to bring more medals for the country in the 14 remaining rowing competitions.
The rowing event at SEA Games 31 will be held from May 9-14 with the participation of 181 athletes from eight countries.
SEA Games 31: Thai kickboxing team aim for top position under guidance of Muay Thai star
Thailand’s kickboxing team, led by Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchemek, has set the target of obtaining the top position at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in Vietnam, according to the SEA Games 31 organising committee. 
The Thai team has seven male and five female kickboxers.
This is only the second consecutive Games that kickboxing has been included in the competition programme.
The Vietnamese team won four gold medals out of a total of eight, surpassing the host Philippines to lead the team rankings at SEA Games 30 held in the Philippines in 2019.
The kickboxing event will take place from May 8-13 at the Bac Ninh gymnasium with two contents –  full contact and low kick – in 12 categories.
SEA Games 31: Vietnam secures first gold in pencak silat
The Vietnamese women’s team seni (artistic) on May 11 brought home the first gold medal in pencak silat at the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31).
Vuong Thi Binh, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha and Nguyen Thi Huyen gained 9.996 points to overcome their Brunei rivals.
Ha and Huyen also clinched a silver in the women’s double of seni while Riska Hermawan and Ririn Rinasih of Indonesia bagged gold.
Speaking to reporters, Ha said she has been waiting for a gold medal for 14 years and this is her best achievement at a SEA Games, especially the one hosted by Vietnam.
Vietnam secured one gold, one silver and three bronzes in six seni category at this SEA Games.
Ten events of pencak silat’s tanding (match) are slated for May 13 in Hanoi’s Bac Tu Liem Gymnasium.
SEA Games 31: Singapore’s dancesport star eager to return to Hanoi
Although this is the first time participating in a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Singaporean dancesport star Chelsy Tsan feels quite familiar as this Games is held in Hanoi.
It is understandable as in 2019, within the framework of the CK Open International DanceSport Championships held in Hanoi, Chelsy brought home seven medals, including two gold, three silver and two bronze, in solo events.
While Chelsy competed in a solo event in her previous trip to the Vietnamese capital, she will be able to lean on familial support this time.
She will be joined by her elder brother Gary, 21, at the Games where the duo will compete in the Latin dance in cha cha cha, paso doble and jive on May 15.
Gary, a part-time ballet school administrator, made his Games bow in the Philippines in 2019 when he won a bronze medal in the paso doble.
Dancesport will consist of 12 events this time, including six each in the Standard and Latin disciplines.
GM Tram leads women’s standard chess category
Grandmaster (GM) Hoàng Thị Bảo Trâm is leading the women’s standard chess category at SEA Games 31.
After four matches, she has taken four points to take the lead out of 10 players, followed by Fronda Jan Jodilyn of the Philippines and fellow Vietnamese GM Võ Thị Kim Phụng.
On May 11, Trâm beat both Gong Qianyun of Singapore and Azhar Puteri Munajjah Az-Zahraa of Malaysia in her third and fourth games, respectively.
Phụng beat Citra Dewi Ardhiani Anastasia of Indonesia and lost to Fronda Jan Jodilyn of the Philippines.
Phụng will meet Philipino Frayna Janelle Mae and Trâm will face Indonesian Citra in the next round.
In the men’s group, GM Nguyễn Ngọc Trường Sơn won three points after four matches to rank second out of 12 players.
In the first place is Ervan Mohamad of Indonesia with 3.5 points.
In his match-up, Sơn defeated Novendra Priasmoro of Indonesia and tied with Yeoh Li Tian of Malaysia.
Another Vietnamese representative, GM Trần Tuấn Minh, lost to Malaysian Yeoh in the third match and drew with Laohawirapap Prin of Thailand in the next round.
Sơn will meet Ervan Mohamad of Indonesia, while Minh will face Ervan Mohamad of Indonesia.
The Vietnamese chess team topped the team ranking in the regional biggest sports event in 2003, 2005 and 2011, before a fall from grace at the 2013 and 2019 Games. The team has set a high goal for this Games, striving to win five medals in 10 categories to regain their leading position in the region.
Viet Nam ends beach handball competition unbeaten
The final match of the beach handball competition saw champions Việt Nam defeat Thailand 2-1 on May 11 on Tuần Châu Island, ending their SEA Games journey with a perfect winning record.
Entering the match with the title already in hand, Việt Nam lacked a little concentration and were sloppy in defence against a determined Thailand, who sought to end their journey head high.
The first minutes saw Việt Nam’s throwers La Văn Lớn, Nguyễn Chí Tâm and Lê Văn Bình all fail to beat the Thai goalkeeper, while Thailand consecutively scored and went six points ahead.
Under the cosh, Việt Nam changed tactics and started to regain possession, scoring four consecutive points from Huỳnh Kỳ. However, it wasn’t enough for the host to narrow the gap and they lost the first set 12-16.
Việt Nam’s effort in the first set brought greater momentum in the second, and they continued to strike hard. Thailand put up a sold fight, defending ferociously.
The second half was perhaps the most intense of the competition as Việt Nam fought for a comeback, proving better in the decisive moments to win by a tiny margin of 21-20, leading to a shoot-out.
The final set was neck-on-neck. Goalkeeper Võ Vương Trọng became the hero of the hosts, denying a powerful finish from the Thais. Việt Nam eventually ran out 9-6 winners.
In the earlier game, the Philippines beat Singapore 2-0 to secure a silver medal, while Singapore finished fourth.
With their six consecutive win, Việt Nam continued to dominate the competition as Trịnh Huy Cường’s men ended their SEA Games journey unbeaten, the same achievement they had in the previous SEA Games 30.
The SEA Games 31 men’s beach handball event was a round-robin format with two legs. The event ended one day before the official opening ceremony. 
Initially, there were five teams, Việt Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore, but Indonesia withdrew at the last minute, leaving only four teams to compete.
They also pulled out of the women’s category, leading to the cancellation of the event. Their decision left only two teams, Việt Nam and Thailand, and regulations state a tournament can only take place with at least three teams. 
Though the Vietnamese women could not compete at the SEA Games 31, they recently won the Asian Championship. They will be continental representatives at the World Championship in Greece in June and the World Games in the US in July. 
TikTok named partner of 31st Southeast Asian Games
TikTok has been named an official partner of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31). 
TikTok will launch the hashtag #SEAGames31 as part of the collaboration, allowing sports enthusiasts to update information about the Games directly on the platform and monitor training progress and support athletes during the competition.
The company will accompany athletes via the “Tôn Vinh Những Nỗ Lực Đỉnh Cao” (Honour the Best Efforts) campaign to promote their efforts and inspirational training journey.
Nicholas Phạm, Product Operations Director of TikTok Vietnam, said: “We are honoured to be a partner with the 31st SEA Games Organising Committee to enhance sports content on the TikTok. Accompanying the event, TikTok looks forward to spreading the sports-loving spirit of Vietnamese people to friends in the region through a global language, which is the sporting language.
“Fans are more eager than ever to access close-up photographs and videos of athletes that they miss due to their inability to attend live events, therefore, we intend to publish a series of engaging content exclusively for the TikTok community throughout the event.”
TikTok will stand beside Vietnamese athletes competing at the region’s greatest sports event.
The campaign’s series of appealing content will be carried out with diverse topics under the hashtag #NoLucDinhCao,” offering fans a bird’s-eye view of the athletes’ journeys at the Games, including an opening video to introduce the spirit, effort and feelings of the Vietnamese athletes.
Others include four videos of inspirational success stories of six athletes involved in content creation on TikTok and six videos that capture memorable behind-the-scenes moments with an interesting Q&A session with athletes accompanying the campaign.
TikTok’s campaign has received the support of athletes who have gained long records, such as football players Nguyễn Hoàng Đức and Nguyễn Thanh Nhã, Taekwondo athlete Châu Tuyết Vân, boxer Trần Văn Thảo, swimmer Hoàng Qúy Phước, as well as the GAM and Team Flash e-sports teams.
At the same time, TikTok will host six interviews with Vietnamese athletes broadcast on @TikTokLIVEVietnam and on each player’s TikTok accounts.
TikTok has been a home for sports enthusiasts, helping users find their own community with similar interests, and connect with sports events and athletes in a new way in recent years.
Creative content and useful information from the world’s top tournaments such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Beijing 2022 Olympics, EURO 2020, and other sporting events are widely shared on TikTok.
Swimmer Hoàng to carry flag, fencer An to read oath
Swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng will be Việt Nam’s flag bearer at the SEA Games 31’s opening ceremony on May 12.
Hoàng was initially chosen to read the athlete’s oath at the event, while the flag holder was fencer Vũ Thành An.
However, the Games Organising Committee decided to make a switch.
Tokyo Olympian Hoàng, who will compete and defend three titles this Games, will take the honour while An will read the oath.
Runner Quách Thị Lan will light the Games torch.
Hoàng is one of the best swimmers in Việt Nam. He won both the Youth Olympic Games and a silver in the Asian Games in 2018, and four golds at two previous SEA Games.
An is currently the top ASEAN fencer in the sabre event. He won five golds in the SEA Games 28, 29 and 30.
Lan is the Asian champion in both women’s 400m and 400m hurdles. She has won four SEA Games medals from SEA Games 28 to date.
International muay referee Phan Thị Ngọc Linh will make the referee’s oath, instead of a volleyball referee as originally planned.
The organisers also added more athletes in the flag and torch relay possessions. Retired swimmer Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên, who was the best athlete at the two previous Games, was invited but turned down the opportunity for personal reasons.
Bodybuilder Mach shapes up in the hope of lifting a gold medal
Bodybuilder Phạm Văn Mách might be 45 years old, but he is showing no signs of slowing down. He is gunning for yet another gold, at the SEA Games 31.
Mách is a monument of Vietnamese bodybuilding and has won the world championship five times, been an eight-time Asian champion, and won three gold medals at the SEA Games.
He is one of nine athletes in the Vietnamese bodybuilding team at the Games this year. He is the oldest athlete in the team and attended the Games held in Việt Nam before in 2003 when he brought home a gold medal. After 19 years, he is aiming for another gold.
Mách is pleased and excited to be on the list participating this year.
To prepare for the regional biggest sports event, he has spent at least two hours practising every day. For the past months, he has been training for the goal of bagging another SEA Games gold. He will compete in the 55kg division.
The southern province of An Giang-born muscleman said his preparation for the Games was not favourable, due to the pandemic. He couldn’t go to the gym regularly or buy the necessities to develop his bulging muscles.
“Compared to other sports, bodybuilding is very special in terms of nutrition and food as it is all biology. In addition to exercise, nutrition is vital, accounting for 60-70 per cent, to help muscles grow significantly,” he said.
​However, overcoming these disadvantages, Mách is confident of grabbing a regional gold medal.
“In competition, there are four criteria for judges to evaluate. The first is muscle size, the second is muscle sharpness, the third is standard form, and the fourth is performance style. These four factors get the highest ranking,” he said.
In four SEA Games, he has only once lost the gold medal, in 2013 as the hosts, Myanmar, played the music slowly, causing him to win only bronze.
Mách often appears in entertainment programmes and is known as a singer. He believes that singing and bodybuilding complement each other because they both include stage performances. He says it has helped him become more confident.
After more than 20 years of training, Mách still keeps the flame alive to dedicate himself to the pursuit of perfection. It seems that “big ant” Mách won’t be satisfied with the successes he has had, but will relentlessly continue to be passionate and work hard.
For Mách, age is just a number, and the desire to win the SEA Games gold medal at home burns deeply in him.
The bodybuilding event takes place on May 13 – 15 in Hà Nội with 10 sets of medals up for grabs.
According to head coach Nguyễn Văn Hải, Việt Nam team aim to take three gold medals. Besides Mách, candidates for the gold medal are Đinh Kim Loan, Trần Thị Cẩm Tú and Phạm Văn Phước. 
VN musicians become cheerleaders for SEA Games 31
Vietnamese musicians have released new works to cheer the national contingent competing at the SEA Games 31, which will kick off in Việt Nam today.
Rapper Karik has collaborated with pop star Hoàng Thùy Linh to release a music video titled Việt Nam Hết Mình (Go Hard, Việt Nam).
Karik, coach in popular reality show Rap Việt, said he wanted to share his pride in the national athletes with thousands of fans.
The song is composed by OnlyC, who has created numerous hits for Vietnamese pop stars like Hồ Ngọc Hà, Đông Nhi and Noo Phước Thịnh, as also famous rappers like Karik and Binz.
The composition has a joyful melody that blends with folk music, and its lyrics describe Vietnamese people and athletes’ determination to achieve glory for the country.
The MV deals with the athletes’ preparation for the event with images of football, basketball, boxing, athletics and swimming team members as well as thousands of cheering fans.
Phạm Anh Quân of Đồng Nai Province said he liked the song because it “delivers motivational messages and inspires our athletes to compete for the country’s glory at the SEA Games 31”.
“Linh is known for song mix of electro-pop and folk music so the song, Việt Nam Hết Mình, carries that uniqueness. It not only reflects a strong will in sports but has tinges of nostalgia,” said Quân.
The MV has garnered more than 810,000 views on YouTube since its release on May 3, and has been acclaimed by many fans.
Songwriter and singer Nguyễn Đức Cường has released an MV titled Hành Trình Một Niềm Tin (Journey of Belief) to express and spread love for the country and national sportspeople.
“I watched the SEA Games when I was a secondary school student. It’s a long journey since that has nurtured my belief in and love for sport in general and football in particularly,” said the 40-year-old musician.
“Many Vietnamese athletes like the U23 football team, swimmer Ánh Viên, shooter Hoàng Xuân Vinh and boxer Trương Đình Hoàng have had great contribution to sports in Việt Nam’s and inspired millions of Vietnamese people,” he said.
The song, which is also sung by Cường, has a fast beat as it sends a motivational message to the country and its athletes.
The MV features Vietnamese football player Đoàn Văn Hậu, who is suffering from an injury and cannot join the national team at this SEA Games edition.
“I feel sad because I can’t participate in the SEA Games due to injury. So through the MV, I want to send my wishes for success to the U23 football team as well as all other sports teams,” Hậu said.
The MV, Hành Trình Một Niềm Tin premiered on YouTube on May 5, and has attracted more than 47,000 views to date.
SEA Games 31: Vietnam seal 2-1 comeback win over Philippines in women’s football
Vietnam made a 2-1 comeback win over the Philippines in their first women’s football match at the ongoing SEA Games 31 held in Quang Ninh province on May 11.
The province’s Cam Pha Stadium was full with more than 16,000 spectators cheering for the teams.
With better physique and stamina, Philippine players launched massive attacks from kick-off.
Captain Tahnai Annis opened the score for the Philippines with a header in the 15th minute.
Midfielder Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung equalised for Vietnam in the 37th minute thanks to an assist by Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy.
Vietnam’s No.8 Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang dribbled the ball through Philippine defenders and gave Vietnam the lead in early of the second half.
Vietnam are the reigning champions of SEA Games and striving to defend their title at this year’s Games on home soil.
The Philippine girls on May 9 trounced their Cambodian sisters 5-0 in the opener.
Fixtures in the women’s football group stage will be held from May 9 to 15. Semi-finals and final are slated for May 18 and 21, respectively.
SEA Games 31: Flag-raising ceremony held
The flags of sports delegations to the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) were hoisted at the My Dinh National Sports Complex in Hanoi on May 11 morning.
Speaking at the flag-raising ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Dao Cuong extended warm welcome to the participating delegations.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the delay of many sports events in the region and the world, including SEA Games 31. With the Vietnamese Government’s resolve, the Vietnamese people’s encouragement, and enthusiastic support of 11 countries in the Southeast Asian region,  the organising committee has gained more confidence and determination to hold a successful and safe SEA Games. 
Being held in Hanoi and 11 cities and provinces, the Games serves as a sports arena for the most outstanding athletes in the region, he said, noting that the Organising Committee hopes that 8,000 officials, coaches and athletes from 11 Southeast Asian countries, along with sports officials from across the world, will also have wonderful experience about Vietnam.
According to the Committee, each of the 11 participating countries sent 31 members to the ceremony that also saw the participation of representatives from foreign embassies.  
The flag-hoisting ceremony was intended to give encouragement to athletes, while promoting culture and people of Vietnam.
SEA Games 31: Vietnam secures first gold in pencak silat
The Vietnamese women’s team seni (artistic) on May 11 brought home the first gold medal in pencak silat at the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31).
Vuong Thi Binh, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha and Nguyen Thi Huyen gained 9.996 points to overcome their Brunei rivals.
Ha and Huyen also clinched a silver in the women’s double of seni while Riska Hermawan and Ririn Rinasih of Indonesia bagged gold.
Speaking to reporters, Ha said she has been waiting for a gold medal for 14 years and this is her best achievement at a SEA Games, especially the one hosted by Vietnam.
Vietnam secured one gold, one silver and three bronzes in six seni category at this SEA Games.
Ten events of pencak silat’s tanding (match) are slated for May 13 in Hanoi’s Bac Tu Liem Gymnasium.
Five Vietnamese athletes enter finals of Kickboxing
On May 11, at the end of the semi-final round of Kickboxing, the Vietnamese team had 5 excellent athletes reaching the final round to compete for the gold medal.
The five athletes are all bright candidates of the Vietnamese Kickboxing team, who compete in the Full Contact content.
They include Nguyen Thi Hang Nga, who takes part in the under 48-kilogram weight category; Nguyen The Huong- under 67 kilogram; Huynh Van Tuan, under 51 kilogram; Huynh Thi Kim Vang, under 65 kilogram; and Nguyen Quang Huy competing in the men’s Low Kick content, under 60 kilogram.
According to the schedule, the Kickboxing final round will take place on May 13 at the Bac Ninh Centre for Physical and Sports Training and Competition.
Vietnamese women’s football team starts SEA Games 31 in ‘perfect fashion’: AFC
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has hailed the Vietnamese women’s football team 2-1 comeback win over the Philippines on May 11 at the ongoing SEA Games 31.
The Official AFC Asian Cup Facebook Page wrote that Vietnam opened their SEA Games Group A account on home soil in ‘perfect fashion’ with a win over the Philippines.   
Speaking to reporters following the game, head coach of Vietnam Mai Duc Chung said they faced various difficulties in the match as their rivals players have better physique.
Vietnamese footballers showed their unwavering spirits and are looking forward to upcoming matches with their sights on the championship, he added.  
As Indonesia had withdrawn, Group A pools Cambodia, the Philippines and the hosts Vietnam. The teams will play in a round-robin format to decide two qualifying for semi-finals.
Vietnam will play Cambodia at 7pm on May 14.
SEA Games 31: Vietnam ensures security, safety for opening ceremony, competitions
Only a few hours left until the opening ceremony of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), all preparations have been completed, with special attention given to ensuring security and safety for the event.
Hanoi’s Department of Public Security has increased its forces and concertedly implemented measures to ensure security and safety for the opening ceremony as well as all events and competitions during the Games.
Forces are being deployed to streets, training and competition venues, and accommodations of athletes, sport officials and referees.
The My Dinh National Stadium, where the opening ceremony will take place, important competition venues, big hotels and accommodations of the international delegations also see the presence of firefighters.
The opening ceremony is expected to impress spectators with various performances demonstrating an active Vietnam able to connect with and inspire other regional countries amid many global uncertainties.
The ceremony will honour not only Vietnamese culture but also cultural identities of Southeast Asian nations, so as to strengthen the regional friendship and solidarity. It will also promote athletes’ dedication and fair-play spirit and motivate their internal strength at competitions.
Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes


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