PHNOM PENH: The 32nd SEA Games have come to a close and athletes from all over Southeast Asia have delivered world class performances, bringing pride to their nations and earning the respect of their citizens. Vietnam finished the games on top with 136 gold medals followed by Thailand with 108 and Indonesia with 87. In terms of total medals won, Cambodia did manage to place third with 282 medals altogether, beating all its previous records.
Yesterday saw the last day of the 2023 SEA Games ending with dozens of medals being won by Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. Cambodia garnered ten more gold medals in sports like cricket, kickboxing, wrestling and even Jet Ski. No one could catch up to the lead established by Vietnam last week who finished with 136 gold, 105 silver and 114 bronze medals. Cambodia and Indonesia battled for third place in the medal standings, but ultimately it was Indonesia who finished third with 87 gold, 80 silver and 109 bronze medals.
Thai Sports Authority governor Gongsak Yodmani said he was very happy with the Thai medal haul, placing second with 108 gold medals and 312 medals total. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen also expressed his pride in the nation’s athletes and in the country’s successful run as host of the 32nd SEA Games. The historic event was the first time in the Games’ 64-year history that Cambodia been able to host and the country stepped up its performance by breaking all its previous medal wins with 81 gold, 74 silver, and 127 bronze medals.
Cambodia’s hosting of the Games has provided many “firsts.” This is the first year athletes have been able to compete in Kun Khmer, an indigenous Cambodian martial art. The sport joins other nations’ heritage sports such as Korea’s Taekwondo, Vietnam’s Vovinam and the Filipino’s Arnis.
In an unprecedented move, Cambodia offered event tickets to fans and room and board to athletes free of charge. The country spent a total of $118 million dollars on the event and made the effort to show, in the words of the Prime Minister, “Cambodia may be a small country, but it has a big heart.”
The closing ceremony for the Games will be held at the Morodok Techo National Stadium this evening at 6pm, where ASEAN athletes and supporters will be able to reflect on their achievements for the 2023 SEA Games.