HÀ NỘI — Reigning fencing champion Vũ Thành An will fly the flag for Việt Nam at the SEA Games while Olympic gold medallist Hoàng Xuân Vinh will light the cauldron in Hà Nội on May 12.
It will be An’s fifth time taking the honourable duty for the nation. He previously took the responsibility at the Rio Olympics in 2016, SEA Games 2017 and 2019 and the Asian Games in 2018.
An is considered a ‘lucky’ flag bearer as after his service, Việt Nam won their first ever Olympic and Asian Games golds.
At this year’s Games, An is one of Việt Nam’s golden hopes in men’s sabre fencing event. The 29-year-old won the title at the last three Games.
Meanwhile marksman Vinh is the most successful sportsperson in Việt Nam’s history. He won one gold and one silver at the Rio Games, Việt Nam’s best result at the world’s largest sport festival.
Vinh, now national head coach of the shooting team, will join nine notable athletes to take the honour of anchoring the torch relay, before he lights up the Games flame at the Mỹ Đình Stadium.
The nine athletes are Trần Hiếu Ngân (Olympic taekwondo silver medallist ), Hoàng Anh Tuấn (Olympic weightlifting silver medallist), Trần Lê Quốc Toàn (Olympic weightlifting bronze medallist), Nguyễn Thúy Hiền (multi-time wushu world champion), Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên (multi-time SEA Games swimming winner), Bùi Thị Thu Thảo (Asian Games winner), Lê Tú Chinh (four-time SEA Games athletic champion), Quách Thị Lan (Asian championship 400m winner), and Lê Thanh Tùng (World Cup gymnastic champion).
Vietnamese swimmer Nguyễn Huy Hoàng will represent all athletes to take the Games’ oath while volleyball referee Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Hoa will make a promise to officiate matches based on fairness.
The opening ceremony will feature a cultural and artistic performance featuring 3,000 people over two hours under director Trần Ly Ly, head of the Performing Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The SEA Games’ flag raising ceremony will be held on May 11, one day before the opening ceremony.
It is an official event to welcome all teams and encourage athletes ahead of their tournament. It is also expected show Việt Nam’s hospitality and friendship to international friends.
Almost 400 representatives of all teams, guests and media will take part in the ceremony.
The 31st SEA Games will be held from May 12-23 in 12 cities and province. Football will be the first sport organised from May 6.
The regional biennial event will see the participation of almost 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials of 40 sports. — VNS