SEA Games 2015: A truly extraordinary celebration

Singapore’s poster boy Joseph Schooling won nine Golds and set records in each of those races

The SEA Games returned to Singapore after 22 years, in the nation’s golden jubilee year – we re-look at what was extraordinary

Muhammad Nur Alfian Juma’en was the biggest champ, beating the World Silat Champion despite a large cut on his foot –  a moment no Singaporean would ever forget
Muhammad Nur Alfian Juma’en was the biggest champ, beating the World Silat Champion despite a large cut on his foot – a moment no Singaporean would ever forget (Photos: SINGSOC / Action Images)

 

Involving over 7,000 athletes and officials across 36 sports, the 28th SEA Games recently came to an end, leaving many emotional and extraordinary moments.

Host country Singapore won a record 259 medals in total, the most by any country at the Games, including 84 Gold medals. Amidst all the sporting excellence, three heroes stood out.

Extraordinary Heroes

Swimming wunderkind Joseph Schooling was further entrenched as Singapore’s poster boy as he not only clinched nine Golds among other medals, he set Games records in each of the events he won.

A different kind of champion, marathon runner Ashley Liew showed extraordinary sportsmanship and became the role model of the Republic. Leading the field after his rivals took a wrong turn, he chose to wait for them instead of taking advantage and eventually finished 8th. What a chap!

Still, 18-year-old Muhammad Nur Alfian Juma’en was undoubtedly the champ of the Games, beating World Silat Champion Tri Dinh Nam in a fiercely-fought match that saw him sustain a large cut on his foot. Winning Singapore’s only Gold in Silat, Alfian Juma’en was overcome with emotion on the podium and tears rolled uncontrollably down his cheeks – a moment no Singaporean would forget.

Lifting Public Experience to Greater Heights

The public’s SEA Games experience was also elevated as, apart from a cash sponsorship of more than $1 million, UnionPay International, the official payment systems sponsor of the 28th SEA Games, introduced complimentary hot air balloon rides.

From 8am to 10am and 5pm to 8pm at the SEA Games Carnival, the hot air balloons enabled them to enjoy a panoramic view of the Singapore Sports Hub and its scenic surroundings, reaching a maximum height of 25m. It was certainly a different way to enjoy the festivities.

Singapore’s poster boy Joseph Schooling won nine Golds and set records in each of those races
Singapore’s poster boy Joseph Schooling won nine Golds and set records in each of those races

Closing Ceremony & Passing on the Baton

Nonetheless, the Closing Ceremony also brought athletes, officials, volunteers and spectators together to a new high, featuring popular local artistes such as The Sam Willows, Tabitha Nauser and Tay Kewei.

In SEA Games tradition, the next host, Malaysia, also contributed a performance. “Diversity in Motion” was a rallying call to unity for the country as it looks to host the 29th Games.

Living up to “Celebrate the Extraordinary”, the 28th SEA Games acknowledged extraordinary efforts of athletes while the Ceremony also recognised the extraordinary qualities of individuals who had helped. Currently, it is the Games to beat.

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