KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017 (KL2017) drew to a close with a jubilant Malaysia emerging as the overall champion with their best ever outing at the biennial event with 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals.
The National Stadium in Bukit Jalil was filled to the brim for the closing ceremony because many did not want to miss out Malaysia's historic feat.
The icing on the cake was that today is also the eve of National Day, where the eve celebrations were lined up after stadium crowd also get to witness the spectacular celebrations.
Joining Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the National Stadium tonight for the closing ceremony were athletes and officials from 11 countries who took part in the sporting extravaganza which began on Aug 19.
The 30th edition of the Games will be hosted by the Philippines in 2019.
"I declare the KL SEA Games closed and I call upon the youths of the Southeast 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," a beaming Najib said when closing the KL2017 to cheers and applause from those who had packed into the 100,000-capacity stadium at 10.12pm, here.
Syafiq , 29, a lecturer at a public higher learning institution who only gave his first name, said he was proud of the national contingent especially the athletics squad which clinched eight gold this time around.
“For me, the SEA Games this time is very special because we surpassed the 111-gold medal target. We can see the rise in our athletes particularly in track and field,” he told Bernama.
Mae Lee, 37, and ardent badminton and wushu fan, said the extraordinary achievement by the national contingent moved her to come to the National Stadium to witness the closing ceremony.
“I can only say excellent and ‘well done'. Although many of the athletes are very young, they put on a splendid performance," said Mae Lee who brought along her family.
Another spectator, who wanted to be known only as Mamanoya, said he never expected the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games to turn into such a great platform to further boost unity among the people.
“I am very happy Malaysia won many gold medals but I am much happier that Malaysians of all races came together to support the national contingent,” said Mananoya who was so excited to be in the stadium.