KUALA LUMPUR: A spectacular showstopper with a glorious medal tally of 323 was the magnificent end to the 29th SEA Games hosted by the nation.
On the eve of the 60th National Day, with a roaring spirit of nationalism, thousands of Malaysians thronged the Bukit Jalil National Stadium to witness the closing ceremony of the Games that saw 7,090 athletes from 11 nations come together to compete in the spirit of sportsmanship.
Malaysia as the host dominated the medal tally and became the overall champion with a total haul of 145 golds, 92 silvers and 86 bronze.
This surpassed the initial target of 111 gold medals, making it one of the best ever in the Games
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived at 9.40pm, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“I declare the 29th SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 closed and I call upon the youth of the South-East Asian countries to assemble two years from now at the Philippines to celebrate the 30th SEA Games.
“May they display cheerfulness and concord so that the Sports Torch may be carried on with even greater eagerness, courage and honour for the good of humanity throughout the ages,” he said in a short declaration yesterday.
As the curtain came down on KL 2017, all eyes will now be fixed on Philippines, the host of the next edition in 2019.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also the organising committee chairman, handed over the SEA Games Federation flag to South-East Asian Games Federation president and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar.
Tunku Imran then presented the flag to the Philippines Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco Jr, who received it on behalf of the Philippines government.
Cojuangco Jr then passed it to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the 30th SEA Games organising committee chairman, His Excellency Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano then waved the flag, signifying Philippines’ acceptance of hosting the Games.
Among some of the highlights at the closing ceremony included a tribute video, a visual journey into the daily lives of some of the 13,000 volunteers at the SEA Games on the tasks and various duties they undertook to ensure the Games’ success. This then followed with Terima Kasih Daun Keladi (tribute of thanks), which was an inspiring fusion of communal singing and dancing, thanking Mother Nature.
There were also a video featuring all the major moments and achievements during the Games, together with a short tribute from Malaysia’s medal winners to all Malaysians.
Among them were shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, wushu champion Diana Bong Siong Lin and karate exponent R. Sharmendran.
The closing ceremony mostly centred around Malaysia’s 60 years of nationhood with the region as well as unity, harmony, togetherness, aspiration and respect.
Among the key highlights was an 80-minute long musical ode called the Soundtrack Negaraku that featured iconic Malaysian songs recreated for the public.
It was accompanied by visuals that were a combination of projection mapping and LED showcasing the nation’s landscapes, symbolic moments and glimpse into its future.
The other highlight included a video segment, which was a compilation of nation building and defining statements from history brought to life for all, accompanied by visuals from the 1957 Merdeka declaration cries by Tunku Abdul Rahman.
There was also the multi-faceted rendition of the national anthem that reverberated across the stadium, with thousands singing, guided by a choir.
This was then accompanied by a spectacle of fireworks.
There was also a “wefie moment” when the public had the opportunity to be part of one of the biggest and widest “wefies” of all time with Najib and Khairy.