Eleven Hanoi athletes who have won medals at the Olympics, ASIAD, and SEA Games will run at the torch relay during the opening ceremony of the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in the capital city, according to the municipal Department of Culture and Sports.
The Organizing Committee of SEA Games 31 selected track-and-field athlete Quach Thi Lan as a representative of the host country to light the torch at the opening ceremony.
The largest sporting event in Southeast Asia will kick off with a ceremony that will start at 7:00 pm on May 12 at Hanoi-based My Dinh National Stadium and is scheduled to last for 120 minutes.
Lan, a member of the Vietnamese track and field team, will compete in the 400m race this time. She was qualified to compete at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, won a gold medal at Asian Games 2018, and competed in the SEA Games in 2013 and 2015.
Athlete Quach Thi Lan will light the cauldron of SEA Games 31. Photo: Quang Tan
A ritual to light the SEA Games torch will be performed on May 6 evening at Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi. A ceremony to raise the flags of participating countries will take place on May 11 at My Dinh National Stadium.
At the opening ceremony next Thursday evening, swimmer Nguyen Huy Hoang will read the oath on behalf of the athletes, and volleyball referee Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa will read the referees’ oath.
The torch will then be passed off to weightlifter Hoang Anh Tuan, a silver medal winner at the 2008 Olympics, weightlifter Tran Le Quoc Toan, a bronze medal winner at the 2021 Olympics, Wushu martial artist Nguyen Thuy Hien, a gold medal winner at the 2001 SEA Games, and swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, a gold medal winner at the 2015 SEA Games.
Furthermore, fencer Vu Thanh An, who bagged gold medals in three consecutive SEA Games, will bear the national flag for the Vietnam sports delegation at the opening ceremony of SEA Games 31.
The SEA Games 31 is set to get underway in Hanoi and 11 neighboring localities from May 12 to May 23, with as many as 10,000 athletes and coaches of 11 Southeast Asian sports delegations competing in 40 sports across 526 events.
The capital city of Hanoi is trying its best to a successful SEA Games 31 and contribute to the overall success of the Vietnamese sports delegation at the event, according to the Games' Organizing Committee.
A training session of athletes and coaches of the national fencing team at the Hanoi Sports and Gymnastics Training and Competition Center. Photo: Do Tam
Of the 965 athletes of the national team at the SEA Games 31, 274 are from Hanoi. They are expected to achieve 40 gold, 33 silver, and 31 bronze medals.
It has set the target of contributing 25-30% of athletes for the national team as well as 30% of the medals at SEA Games 31. The city also works to ensure the best preparations for the national teams, supporting them in training and competitions.
Coach Lam Khai Vinh of the national petanque team said that the best conditions have been created for them since they began training at the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center in March, adding that the competition and training areas have been upgraded to meet international standards.
Similarly, the training site of the national muay team in Phuc Tho District has been refurbished to have more fitness rooms.
Hoang Quoc Vinh, head of the General Department of Physical Education and Sports, said that this is the foundation for the muay team to fulfill their task at the Games.
Director Dao Quoc Thang from the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center said they have tried their best in taking care of athletes’ preparations, including sending them abroad for training prior to the Games.
At SEA Games 30 held in the Philippines, Hanoi was the locality that contributed the most medals to the national delegation with 34 gold, 27 silver and 26 bronze medals. The Vietnamese delegation won 98 gold, 85 silver and 105 bronze medals.
This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the Southeast Asian Games, the last was in 2003. The SEA Games were initially scheduled to run from November 21 to December 2, 2021. However, the event was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Games will feature over 40 sports, and 526 events with the attendance of some 10,000 athletes and officials from 11 Southeast Asian countries.