HANOI - Newly minted diving silver medallist Max Lee and women’s footballer Danelle Tan will get the chance to compete in front of home fans at the SEA Games when the biennial event returns to Singapore in 2029.
The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore announced in a joint-statement on Thursday (May 12) that the Republic will host the 2029 edition of the Games – 14 years after it was last held in Singapore.
Members of the SEA Games Federation had accepted Singapore’s interest in hosting the biennial event – the largest multi-sports competition in the region – at a meeting in Hanoi, they added.
Thailand and Malaysia will host the 2025 and 2027 editions respectively. The current Games - the 31st edition - is currently being held in Hanoi after it was delayed from 2021 due to the pandemic.
SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin, who is in the Vietnamese capital, said: “We are pleased to host the prestigious regional sporting event in Singapore again. The SEA Games holds special memories and experiences for Singapore and our South-east Asian neighbours. The camaraderie and rivalry we share are distinct and Singapore is once again happy to organise the 35th SEA Games to relive these moments.”
The 2029 Games will be the fifth time Singapore is organising the event after playing host in 1973, 1983, 1993 and 2015, when its athletes delivered their best performance ever – a haul of 84 gold, 73 silver and 102 bronze medals – to finish second behind Thailand in the medal tally, a feat not achieved since the 1975 Bangkok South-east Asian Peninsular Games.
Over 7,000 athletes and officials from 11 countries participated in the 2015 Games, which featured 402 events across 36 sports.
Hosting of the June 5-16 Games was then budgeted to cost $324.5 million, with the eventual net cost reported to be $60.4 million below that amount.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said hosting the Games will give local athletes an opportunity to enjoy “strong home ground support”.
He added: “The spirit of the SEA Games can also bring Singaporeans from all walks of life together, to cheer and rally behind our athletes, and strengthen our national unity.
“Following the successful hosting of the 2015 SEA Games, we are confident that the 35th SEA Games in 2029 can be another defining moment for Singaporeans and also an opportunity to showcase our hospitality, and tighten bonds with our South-east Asian neighbours.”
The news was welcomed by young athletes like Max, who won a SEA Games silver in the men’s 10m synchronised platform with Jonathan Chan on Tuesday.
The 14-year-old said: “I have been researching about when Singapore will host the Games again and I didn’t get an answer till today. I can’t wait to perform and dive in front of a home crowd. More of our family and friends will be able to support us, so it would be a great feeling to compete in front of them.”
Danelle, 17, who plays as a forward for the Lionesses, said: “It will be a good platform for us to showcase what we are capable of to the nation and to inspire the next generation.”
Her vice-captain Stephanie Gigette Dominguez, who will turn 31 in 2029, said the home Games will “motivate me to train and better my skills”.
Swimmer Randall Neo who holds the Under-14 national record in the men's 100m Butterfly, is looking forward to a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".
The 17-year-old said: "I remember attending the opening ceremony of the previous SEA Games in Singapore back in 2015, and it was spectacular. I recall watching in awe and admiration as all the top Singaporean athletes made their entrance.
"The prospect of representing Singapore on home ground with so many fellow Singaporeans supporting me is very exciting, and it’s something I’ll be working hard towards achieving."