The 30th SEA Games 2019 are officially unveiled at a grand opening ceremony at the world’s largest stadium, Philippines Arena, in Bulacan. For the first time in the history of the sport’s 60-year history, the opening ceremony took place in a closed hall rather than in a stadium.
Even more interesting at the SEA Games 2019 this torch crater was located in a different location, at the ‘New Clark Athletics Stadium’, located about 90 kilometers from Bulacan, and the torch lighting event was broadcast on screen in an arena of 55,000 people.
The opening ceremony began with a Philippine national anthem by Filipino singer Lani Misalucha followed by a lively performance titled ‘The Roots of our Strength’ featuring the country’s cultural and heritage and performed with a series of heroic dances from Bagobo, Kalinga, Maguindanao, Islamic and pre-Hispanic Visayans.
The procession of the contingent was accompanied by cheers of the audience, as they entered the arena in alphabetical order starting with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam with the host contingent being the last team to enter the arena.
Malaysian contingent was led by Jalur Gemilang and 2018 world champion Rafiq Ismail, followed by over 100 athletes and officials including Chef-de-mission (CDM) Megat Zulkarnain Omardin and his two deputies Nurul Huda Abdullah and Ahmad Faedzal M Ramli.
After Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced the opening of the 30th SEA Games, the audience was treated to a lively modern and hip hop performance by local artist Inigo Pascual, Robert Sena, Apl.de.Ap and KZ Tournament before the torch lit event.
World-class boxers from the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao and Nesthy Petecio were honored as torchbearers, before they lit a torch crater marking the start of the 12-day Games.
With the theme of ‘We Win As One’, the SEA Games will last for 12 days until its official closing ceremony at New Clark Athletics Stadium on December 11.
More than 8,000 athletes from 10 ASEAN countries and East Timor will compete in 530 events from 56 sports held in three major clusters, Manila, Clark and Subic.
The 30th SEA Games 2019 is the fourth time the Philippines has hosted, after 1981, 1991 and the last time in 2005.
SEA Games is also introducing a number of new sports including archery, jujitsu, kickboxing, underwater hockey and e-Sports.
As the defending champion, Malaysia sent a strong contingent of 773 athletes and 339 officers into 52 sports and aimed to bring home 70 gold, 51 silver and 105 bronze for fourth place.