On May 16 - the last official competition day, Vietnamese athletes recorded a beyond-expectation gold medal haul in fencing, wrestling, judo and weightlifting, and even breakdance – a new sport at the Games.

The hard-won success helped Vietnam stay firm on the top of the medal tally.

The Vietnamese delegation top the medal tally with 136 gold, 104 silver and 114 bronze medals at SEA Games 32.

Throughout their 11-day journey at the largest regional sporting event, the athletes gave fans a full gamut of emotions, from the burst of joy over the historic gold medal in the women’s basketball, to admiration, even from rivals, for runner Nguyen Thi Oanh who brought home four golds and golfer Le Khanh Hung who became a gold medalist at the age of 15.

Many other historic achievements were recorded by the Vietnamese athletes at the Games, which have won admiration and pride from fans. Notably, head coach Mai Duc Chung and his players won the fourth consecutive SEA Games gold in women’s football after sailing through a host of challenges.

Regrettable failures were also seen in athletics, swimming, tennis, fencing and even the men's U22 football team, sometimes shaking fans’ confidence in the likelihood of beating the gold medal target.

However, thanks to breakthroughs in martial arts, wrestling, diving and aerobics on the last four days, the Vietnamese delegation created a perfect sprint to top the medal tally with 136 gold, 104 silver and 114 bronze medals at SEA Games 32, over fulfilling the target of 89-120 golds and a top-three finish.

Earlier, Vietnam had topped SEA Games in 2003 and 2022, both of which, however, were held in home ground.

This is also the first time Vietnam has successfully defended its top position in two consecutive Games. It can be said that this year’s success has served as a source of encouragement for the athletes to weather greater challenges in the time ahead, firstly the 19th Asian Games (ASIAD) in Hangzhou, China, in late September, and competitions for tickets to Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

However, various professional issues still remain, requiring sports managers to review and analyze them as the SEA Games 32 success is unlikely to ensure that Vietnam will well perform in larger tournaments, especially in the context that many sports and events at SEA Games 32 are not included in ASIAD and Olympic, and not many achievements close to medal competitions in continental and global tournaments were made in the Games in Cambodia.

Vietnam sent a 1,003-strong sports delegation to the SEA Games 32, about 700 of them athletes, who competed in 31 sports events.

The Games is held in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, and Kep and will be officially wrapped up on May 17.

Source: VNA