‘World-class’ Southeast Asian Games end with rocking closing ceremony

Athletes march during the closing ceremony of the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) at the athletics stadium in Clark, north of Manila, on Dec. 11, 2019. (AFP / TED ALJIBE)
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Updated 12 December 2019

‘World-class’ Southeast Asian Games end with rocking closing ceremony

  • Around 8,750 athletes and officials took part in the biggest-ever SEA Games across ten days of competition
  • For the first time ever eSports became a medal event at an Olympic-recognized multi-sport competition

CLARK, Philippines: The 30th Southeast Asia Games ended on Wednesday with a rocking closing ceremony in the 20,000-seater purpose-built stadium in Clark, as host nation Philippines ran away winners with 149 gold medals.
After a chaotic start beset by organizational gaffes, a presidential apology and online mockery, the Games were briefly hit by a deadly typhoon, but organizers worked round the clock to get the schedule back on track.
“This year, Christmas has come early,” chairman of the organizing committee Alan Peter Cayetano said to thousands of flag-waving fans in the stadium after each country’s athletes had paraded by.
“We Southeast Asians, we Filipinos, have shown the world that we can do it with world class quality.”
Around 8,750 athletes and officials took part in the biggest-ever SEA Games across ten days of competition, involving sportsmen and women from 11 countries in venues across Clark, Manila and Subic in the country’s north.




Medal standings n the South East Asia Games 2019. (Courtesy: SEAG 2019 official site)

Once the celebrations have died down however, organizers will face a government probe after the embarrassing build-up to the Games generated the wrong kind of headlines and a mocking hashtag #SEAGamesFail.
The Games were also slammed by Typhoon Kammuri which forced about half of the events to be rescheduled for one day.

Kammuri’s fierce winds toppled trees and flattened flimsy homes across a swathe of the nation’s north, and forced a rare 12-hour shutdown of Manila’s international airport.
Despite 13 deaths in the storm, none of the athletes, officials or 12,000 volunteers was reported hurt and a full program resumed soon after.
At the Games’ many venues there were disappointing performances for some of the region’s biggest stars.
Singaporean Olympic champion Joseph Schooling was expected to take several golds in the pool, but walked away with just one individual title.
The 24-year-old famously beat his idol, US legend Michael Phelps, at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the 100m butterfly final, but was out of form and out of shape just seven months away from Tokyo 2020.
And home favorite, the world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, won just two out of the seven golds he was going for.

In the most heroic highlight of the Games, Filipino surfer Roger Casugay leapt from his board to help an Indonesian opponent who had gotten into difficulty in choppy waters. Casugay become an online sensation and earned praises from the president of Indonesia. He later went on to win a gold medal, even beating the rival he rescued on his way to glory.


However, there were some impressive displays, including many from Vietnam who came second with 98 golds, including the men’s football title.
For many though, the actions of local surfer Roger Casugay will be the highlight of the Games.
Casugay became an online sensation after he leapt from his board to help an opponent who had got into difficulty in choppy waters.
He later went on to win a gold medal, even beating the rival he rescued on his way to glory.
And for the first time ever eSports became a medal event at an Olympic-recognized multi-sport competition.
Players from nine countries competed at a darkened arena in Manila over six days for medals in Mobile Legends, Arena of Valor, Dota 2, Starcraft II, Tekken 7 and Hearthstone.
To mark the official end of the Games thousands heard a medley of rock songs by former Journey lead singer, the Filipino Arnel Pineda, whose setlist included “Sweet Child o Mine” by Guns N’ Roses and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

 

 


NBA playoff picture comes into a bit more focus

Updated 08 August 2020

NBA playoff picture comes into a bit more focus

  • Orlando and Washington are last two teams contending for one spot in the East
  • The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: The NBA playoff picture is getting a little clearer.
Brooklyn secured one of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference on Friday, defeating Sacramento 119-106. That leaves Orlando and Washington as the last two teams contending for one spot in the East, with the Magic needing only one more win or one Wizards loss to clinch.
Orlando and Washington were both playing later Friday.
For the Nets, the clinching comes as something to savor in a topsy-turvy season.
Kevin Durant couldn’t play at all because of his recovery from Achilles surgery — yet still got a $1 million contract bonus because Brooklyn made the postseason. Kyrie Irving missed much of the year because of injury, the Nets had several regulars opt out of participating in the restart, changed coaches in March and have used 24 players so far this season.
“It’s great to punch our own ticket into the playoffs,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I joked with the guys: I like my laundry being done, but nothing like doing your own laundry.”
The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close, with teams vying to grab the No. 8 spot and play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. If the eighth- and ninth-place teams are within four games of one another when the seeding game schedule ends next week, there will be a two-game series to determine who gets the last playoff spot.
Should that series take place, the ninth-place team would have to go 2-0 in a best-of-two series to advance.
Memphis remained alone in eighth, after the Grizzlies snapped a four-game bubble losing streak by beating Oklahoma City on Friday 121-92. The Grizzlies are one game ahead of Portland in the West standings.
“We channeled what we’ve done all season long,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We played Grizzlies basketball. Grizzlies basketball equals Grizzlies wins, more often than not. We hadn’t done that in the first four games.”
San Antonio leaped idle Phoenix into 10th in the West by beating Utah 119-111, with the Spurs improving to 3-2 in the bubble. The Spurs (30-38) are one game behind Portland in the standings.
“At the end of the day, we can’t control what they’re doing,” Spurs center Jakob Poeltl said. “We can only control what we’re doing. We’re going to take every game as it comes. We’re going to try to win every game.”
Phoenix, Sacramento and New Orleans remain in the mix for a play-in series spot. The Suns, who are 4-0 at Disney, play Miami on Saturday.