The Vietnam national team is roaring loud and hard at the 31st SEA Games, as Vietnamese athletes lead the medal table. As of May 17, Vietnam has already garnered 95 golds, 62 silvers, and 62 bronzes, making a total of 219 medals. Noticeably, the number of gold medals for the Vietnamese team is more than double the current second placer, Thailand, at 40.
Vietnam fetched its first gold medal for this year’s Games from To Thi Trang who won the women’s kurash wrestling competition in the 48-kg weight class on May 10.
On Monday, the track and field team – Khuat Phuong Anh, Bui Thi Nguyen, Le Tien Long, and Vu Thi Ngoc Ha — bagged four new golds for Vietnam. Pencak silat also brought home 5 golds, thanks to Quang Thi Thu Nghia, Le Van Toan, Nguyen Duy Tuyen, Tran Dinh Nam, and Nguyen Tan Sang. By the end of the day, the Vietnam taekwondo team added four golds.
On Tuesday, wrestler Nghiem Dinh Hieu beat Thailand's Chinathurat to win a gold medal in men’s Greco-Roman 87kg. Nguyen Ba Son, Bui Tien Hai, and Bui Manh Hung also took home gold medals in different categories.
Other victories that added to Vietnam's gold medal tally include rapid chess, Muay Thai, canoeing, and shooting.
Thailand has 141 medals in total. Standing in the third place is the Philippines with 116 medals. The 4th and 5th positions belong to Indonesia and Malaysia, respectively. Timor-Leste only has two silver as of this writing and is at the bottom of the table.
With the slogan "For a Stronger Southeast Asia," SEA Games 31 serves as a strong start for recovery for the region. The Games was supposed to take place in 2021 but was postponed due to rising coronavirus cases last year. It was clouded by doubts in recent months, but a grand and spectacular opening ceremony at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on May 12 proved how much effort Vietnam has poured to pull off the weeks-long Games amidst an ongoing pandemic. Highlights of the opening night include the performance of “Let's Shine," the official theme song of SEA Games 31, a beautiful lotus dance, and a colorful firework display.
From May 6 to May 22, eleven countries will be competing in 40 sports. This is the second time Vietnam has hosted the regional sporting event. Besides Hanoi, 11 neighboring provinces in the northern region are also hosting events.