The last of the SEA Games matches take place today, with the Games’ Closing Ceremony set to kick off at 8PM tonight. Over the past 12 days, as we cheered and celebrated wins, and cried with our athletes over losses, we also remembered the victims of the Sabah earthquake, who lost their lives in the 6.0 magnitude disaster.
But above all, the SEA Games are a time to salute and recognise the hard work that our athletes have put in, and bask in the camaraderie that comes with different nations cheering on our sports teams together.
Here are the top moments of the SEA Games we’re not likely to forget in a hurry.
1. Remembering the victims of the Sabah earthquake
The quake struck in the early hours of the morning on 5 June, claiming the lives of 10 Singaporeans. A day of national remembrance was declared on 8 June in Singapore, during which a minute of silence was observed at the start of all SEA Games events.
I don’t know for sure what the atmosphere was like at other venues, but at the Singapore Indoor Stadium (where the table tennis matches were held), some spectators in the stands began sobbing silently as the minute passed. It was a chilling, heartbreaking sight.
2. The Proposal
But from the shadows of the disaster, there also emerged some other tear-inducing incidents of the happy, joyous sort. Singapore decathlete Lance Tan, who placed 8th at the Games and set a new personal best of 4922 points, later proposed to his girlfriend after his final event, amidst cheers from the crowd. This video explains it all:
3. Nur Alfian wins at silat
As if his fellow sportsmen and women hadn’t made us cry enough, local silat exponent Nur Alfian later turned our hearts to mush when he began weeping tears of joy and pride when the national anthem was played during his victory ceremony. His expression, as you might guess, is priceless:
4. Ashley Liew’s show of sportsmanship
The 28-year-old marathon runner, at some point in the race, found himself leading the pack after his fellow competitors took a wrong route. To level out the playing field, as he explained in an interview with TODAY, he slowed down “dramatically…to wait for them.” His efforts earned him an 8th placing in the race, as well as praise from ministers like Tan Chuan-Jin, K Shanmugam and Grace Fu:
5. The sheer number of records broken
Sports meets, of course, are not all about the medals. Enough of headlines asking if Singapore will beat the 80-gold medal mark (though just for the record, we have) — what’s infinitely more important is the fact that our favourite athletes are striving to become, as the Olympic motto reads, “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.
And throughout the numerous sporting events, we’ve seen just that: records are being fallen again and again, elevating the overall standard of competition at the SEA Games.
6. Those Filipino divers
Speaking of standards, who can forget that video showing the failed dives of two Filipino athletes? It went viral after it was published online, and the pair promptly earned themselves zeroes for their efforts:
Friends do not let friends do silly things alone… in this case getting ZERO POINTS for Diving at SEA GAMES 2015! HAHAHAHAH! #somebodyhelpme #mystomachhurts #ishouldnotbelaughing #butthisjusttoofunnyDownload SGAG on your iPhones: http://bit.ly/1AoQEiKDownload SGAG on your Android phones: http://bit.ly/1F8XQFn
Posted by SGAG on Wednesday, 10 June 2015
7. These cheerleaders from Thailand
With all our focus on the athletes themselves, we often forget that some of the best moments happen off the courts/pools/fields. A group of enthusiastic supporters from Thailand made their rounds during the SEA Games, bringing some much appreciated entertainment to spectators:
I caught them in action at the table tennis finals, and with their shiny headgear, synchronised cheering and dancing, they were a sight to behold. The fact that they very graciously sent a cheer Singapore’s way when the team scooped up both team medals didn’t hurt, either — and Singaporeans in the stands were quick to return the favour.
8. SGAG trolls spectators
If you’ve seen an episode of Jimmy Kimmel’s Lie Witness News, where the show’s production team goes around tricking unsuspecting (and admittedly very gullible individuals) about things like fake musical acts and fashion designers, you’ll appreciate SGAG’s SEA Games version:
9. Singapore’s first pole vault medal
Like I said, medals are not everything when it comes to sporting events, and this point is no exception. What’s amazing, in this case, is that pole vaulter Rachel Yang accomplished this after giving birth to her son — no mean feat, as any athlete will tell you. Just look at how adorable they are:
10. Singaporeans make up for malfunctioning national anthem recording
Oh, Singaporeans. We might be an unfeeling, sullen bunch at times, but look how nicely we clean up at the times when it matters the most (skip to around the 5 minute mark to witness something truly magical):
I’ve watched this video about 10 times now (purely for research purposes, of course) but it gives me goosebumps each time. The giddy smiles of happiness on our swim team’s faces only make the video better.
Now excuse me while I rush home to catch the closing ceremony of the SEA Games 2015.