By Nick Giongco
CAPAS, Tarlac—Host Philippines lowered the curtains down on the 30th Southeast Asian Games in the same spectacular way it opened 12 days ago.
Featuring electrifying performances by Grammy-award winning Black Eyed Peas and Ariel Pineda of the band Journey, the 2019 SEAG was formally declared over by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea at the New Clark City Athletic Stadium on Wednesday night.
Before athletes and officials from the 11 SEAG countries, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano lauded the athletes who rose to the occasion during the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 sportsfest.
The host took the overall crown with a medal tally of 149-117-121 (gold-silver-bronze) and Cayetano paid homage to the 1,100-strong Philippine team.
“Today we are a better people because of you,” said Cayetano before an audience estimated at 15,000.
Philippine Olympic Committee president and Tagaytay Rep. Bambol Tolentino likewise praised the athletes for their efforts and sacrifice and the entire workforce for rallying behind the flag.
“There is nothing impossible if we stand as one, work as one and win as one,” said Tolentino, who actually designed the 530 events from 56 sports that was played during the SEAG.
The Philippine Sports Commission, whose chairman Butch Ramirez served as chief of mission, could not help but take a bow.
“All your hard work and achievement produced more than just medals. It lifted the spirit of a nation hungry for inspiration and hope. It awakened the spirit of patriotism,” Ramirez said in a statement.
Last Nov. 30, the Philippines formally opened the SEAG at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan with a unique parade of nations and a program that veered off the traditional.
Tolentino said the Phisgoc’s handling of the SEAG “raised the standard of hosting.”
Vietnam, the 2021 host, made a dazzling presentation before the mini concert. Hanoi, the capital city, will host the 31st edition.