2017 SEA Games concludes in style

Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony for the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur on August 30, 2017. (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

Malaysia celebrates the end of the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) with a glittering, colourful and sparkling closing ceremony at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. The biennial games, also known as Kuala Lumpur 2017, ran between August 19 and 30, 2017. The game coincides with the celebration of Malaysia’s 60th Independence Day. It is the sixth time that Malaysia has hosted the biennial competition.

Malaysia emerges as the leading sporting nation in the region at the 2017 SEA Games by with a total medal tally of 323 medals: comprising 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals. Thailand finished in second spot and clinched 72 golds, followed by Vietnam in third place with 58, Singapore with 57, Indonesia with 38, the Philippines with 24, Myanmar with seven, Cambodia three with and Laos with two while Brunei returns with five silver and eight bronze medals. Timor Leste secured three bronze medals.

The next edition of the prestigious SEA Games will be hosted by the Philippines in 2019. The event is expected to bring economic growth to the Philippines as it will boost tourism activities in the country. Tourism-related industries have accounted for 8.2 percent of the Philippine archipelago's GDP (gross domestic product) in 2015 according to a report published by the Manila Bulletin on August 27, 2017.

The Kuala Lumpur 2017 went on smoothly, albeit several setbacks along the way. One of the first incidents that marred the biennial SEA Games was the misprinting of an inverted Indonesia flag in the commemorative booklet distributed by MASOC (Malaysia Organizing Committee). The Malaysian government had issued an official apology to Indonesia following the incident which had caused an uproar among Indonesians. In another incident, two buses ferrying several squash players from Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines to their respective SEA Games competition venues from the Marriott Putrajaya Hotel located in the administrative capital of Malaysia, were involved in a collision. This was followed by another incident where two football fans from Myanmar were beaten up after their match with the Malaysian football team. They suffered punches and kicks to the face and body outside of the Shah Alam Stadium - the venue of the match. The host nation also suffered setbacks as at least 16 Malaysian athletes got hit by food poisoning.

Nevertheless, as Malaysia draws the curtain on Kuala Lumpur 2017 and begins celebration of its 60th Independence day, the 29th edition of the competition will certainly be remembered one of the most entertaining and distinguished SEA Games to date.